The Ryanair chief executive, Michael O'Leary, today accused Gordon Brown of "using the environment to steal more taxes from ordinary air passengers".

It is the second time in a week that Mr O'Leary has attacked the government's decision to double air passenger duty. His comments come after yesterday's outcry over Tony Blair's stance on flying.

The prime said he was unwilling to give up holidays abroad to reduce his carbon footprint, provoking criticism from environmental groups.