It’s always a customer-friendly move to charge for something that was free in the past. Actually – it isn’t.
Sadly it seems, Gatwick Airport is planning to charge £5 for the privilege to drop off passengers at its forecourts.
The airport will introduce the charge next year – although no date has been set yet. The airport says that
Gatwick will be introducing a charge for vehicles using the forecourt to drop off passengers directly outside its terminals – as most UK airports have done for many years – and the revenue raised will help the airport continue its recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
The airport adds that anyone who does not wish to pay the charge will be able to drop-off or pick-up passengers in the airport’s long-stay car parks with two hours free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminals.
At the moment, the airport does not charge to drop off passengers in front of its terminals. It moans that people picking up passengers are required to use the short stay car park, although this does not always happen, and some people use the forecourt to pick up.
So, if you want to use the forecourts in future (say travelling in a taxi, or being dropped off by friends or family), it’ll be an extra £5 a time.
The airport argues this will reduce the “kiss and Fly” journeys – the least sustainable type of journey to the airport as it involves two return car journeys – while also further encouraging public transport use and potentially cutting road traffic congestion and emissions at Gatwick and surrounding local areas. Currently, around 15% of airport journeys are ‘Kiss and Fly’.
Gatwick is looking at solutions to allow those who regularly drop off and pick up at the South Terminal each day to access to the train station to make a token annual payment contribution. Suitable solutions for Blue Badge holder’s convenience are also being looked at.
The new charging system will come in with the implementation of a Red-Route system across the airport area. Red Routes are roads where stopping to park, load or unload, board or alight from a vehicle is prohibited. And you can charge fines on them too.
Jonathan Pollard Chief Commercial Officer said:
“Gatwick has just gone through the most challenging period in its history and this new drop off charging scheme will give us a new revenue stream to aid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and ultimately help us continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.
“Gatwick is also committed to promoting sustainable travel and this new scheme will encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including public transport services or parking options at the airport, which only involves two single car trips, compared to two return trips when dropping off.
“The airport already has strong public transport links and we will build on this with a proportion of the revenue raised supporting new sustainable transport initiatives. We will also continue to fund our share of the ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station.”
Another easy revenue grab
It seems as airport scramble to shore up cash, they are looking to grab revenue. And normally, that means monetising something that was free beforehand.
Whilst airports charging for forecourt drop-off is no new thing (and your correspondent paid £3 to be dropped off for the privilege to be dropped off in a zone with a walk to the airport terminal recently), it is sad to see that airports are taking the easy path, rather than improving the experience for all passengers.
And you can bet that when the good time return, they won’t walk that charge back… ever.
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