Lobby group A Fair Tax on Flying has hit back at claims by a leading Conservative Party commentator that there will be no change in government thinking on Air Passenger Duty because “it’s not on people’s minds”.

Tim Montgomerie, editor of influential Tory website ConservativeHome, told the UKinbound conference in Windsor: “There will not be a huge change in trajectory by the government because the [coalition] parties cannot agree.

But UKinbound chief executive, Mary Rance – a spokesperson for A Fair Tax on Flying – said: “We do not share Tim Montgomerie’s pessimism about a lack of appetite within Parliament or the general public to reform APD.

“More than ever passengers, businesses and MPs themselves are making their opposition to APD known. This summer 200,000 people wrote to MPs calling for a Treasury impact-assessment of the tax.

“The Chancellor himself received over 400 emails and many MPs were contacted by over 1,000 of their constituents, so this is an issue of great importance both nationally and in George Osborne’s Tatton constituency.

“In Parliament too more than 100 MPs have now signed an Early Day Motion (174) calling for the tax to be reviewed. If anything, public and political awareness about APD is increasing, along with a willingness to question why it is that UK passengers pay such a big levy in APD compared to our European neighbours.

She added: “Tourism in the UK generates an estimated £115 billion to the economy each year and is of fundamental importance to sustaining and increasing economic growth.

“APD is the highest tax of its kind anywhere in the world and as a result it stymies competitiveness and economic prosperity. That’s why the government should listen to the growing chorus of voices that are making the case for the Treasury to urgently review taxation of air passengers.”