Air taxes will be switched from individual passengers to airline flights to encourage more efficient use of planes.
Passenger duty will now be replaced with a tax on planes
The new tax will take effect from November 2009.
Chancellor Alistair Darling said the measure would help tackle climate change, one of the "two great challenges for this generation".
"I propose that aviation makes a greater contribution in respect of its environmental impact," he said.
The government is also launching a consultation on how to link the tax to the distance the flight is travelling.
"A tax that penalises airlines for flying half-empty planes makes a lot of sense, but the Government's support for the unrestrained expansion of UK airports seriously undermines its credibility," said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace.
Easyjet warned the government not to increase the overall levels of tax from airline passengers but accepted the need for reform.
"A tax that penalises families but excludes private jets and charges passengers travelling to Marrakech the same as those travelling to Melbourne, is just plain wrong," said Andy Harrison, chief executive of Easyjet.
However, Ryanair criticised the announcement.
"This is just another tax on ordinary passengers from Government ministers swanning around on private aircraft," the company said in a statement.