Airports criticised for charges for drivers collecting passengers

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SOME of the UK’s busiest airports have hiked parking charges for drivers collecting passengers, according to a new study.

Research by motoring firm the RAC found that eight of the top 20 airports have increased pick-up tariffs this year.

It advised drivers to “keep goodbyes to a minimum” as five airports have also raised fees for dropping off departing passengers.

Motorists will view the increases as “another way of making money out of them”, RAC spokesman Simon Williams said.

Anyone driving family or friends to or from an airport should check prices in advance “or be prepared for an unpleasant shock”, he added.

Charges rose by as much as 100% in the past year while some airports introduced fees that did not previously exist.

Motorists collecting family or friends from London Luton are charged the most in the UK at £7 for 40 minutes, according to the report.

This is followed by London Stansted (£5 for half an hour) and Birmingham (£4.90 for one hour).

London Stansted demands the highest fee for dropping off passengers at £3.50 for 10 minutes, 50p more than the amount charged by London Luton for the same time.

Liverpool John Lennon is the third most expensive for so-called kiss and fly journeys at £3 for 20 minutes, although a secondary drop-off area involving a walk of five to 10 minutes is free.

Mr Williams said: “The eye-watering drop-off and pick-up costs at some airports is likely to be viewed by drivers as another way of making money out of them, particularly in instances where public transport to and from the airport simply isn’t a viable option.

“This year many airports have increased the already sky-high prices they charge for short-stay parking near their departure and arrival terminals making a good deed a costly experience.

“Drop-off charges are the biggest bone of contention as for many they appear severe when they are simply pulling up for less than five minutes and often don’t even get out of the car themselves.”

Seven airports buck the trend by offering free drop-off parking by terminals. They are: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast City and Jersey.

Leeds-Bradford is the cheapest of the 20 examined for collecting passengers, offering free parking for 60 minutes but it charges £3 for 30 minutes to drop off making it the fourth most expensive,

A spokesman for trade association the Airport Operators Association said income from parking supports investment in facilities and “allows airports to keep charges to airlines low, benefiting travellers through lower air fares”.

He said airports provide clear information about the cost of parking options, meaning passengers have a “high level of awareness of the different ways they can choose to get to the airport, ranging from public transport to travelling by car”.

The spokesman added that airports set drop-off charges for a variety of reasons, including to manage congestion and limit the environmental impact of journeys.

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HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO DROP OFF AND PICK UP PASSENGERS AT AIRPORTS?

By Neil Lancefield, Press Association Transport Correspondent

The RAC has analysed parking charges for picking up and dropping off passengers at 20 of the UK’s busiest airports.

:: Here is the cost of dropping off passengers, based on recommended set-down parking:

RANKING IN ORDER OF MOST EXPENSIVE - AIRPORT - INITIAL RATE 2017 - INITIAL RATE 2016 - INCREASE

1. London Stansted - £3.50 for 10 minutes - £3 for 10 minutes - 50p

2. London Luton - £3 for 10 minutes - £3 for 10 minutes - No change

3. Liverpool John Lennon - £3 for 20 minutes - £2 for 20 minutes - £1

4. Leeds Bradford - £3 for 30 minutes - £3 for 30 minutes - No change

=5. Birmingham - £2 for 10 minutes - £1 for 10 minutes - £1

=5. Glasgow International - £2 for 10 minutes - Free - £2

=5. East Midlands - £2 for 10 minutes - £2 for 10 minutes - No change

8. Aberdeen - £2 for 15 minutes - £2 for 15 minutes - No change

9. Edinburgh - £1 for five minutes - £1 for five minutes - No change

=10. Belfast International - £1 for 10 minutes - £1 for 10 minutes - No change

=10. Bristol - £1 for 10 minutes - £1 for 10 minutes - No change

=10. Newcastle - £1 for 10 minutes - £1 for 10 minutes - No change

=10. Southampton - £1 for 10 minutes - Free - £1

=14. London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Belfast City, Cardiff, London City and Jersey all have no charge

:: Here is the cost of collecting passengers, based on minimum stay charges:

RANKING IN ORDER OF MOST EXPENSIVE - AIRPORT - INITIAL RATE 2017 - INITIAL RATE 2016 - INCREASE

1. London Luton - £7 for 40 minutes - £7 for 40 minutes - No change

2. London Stansted - £5 for 30 minutes - £4.50 for 30 minutes - 50p

3. Birmingham - £4.90 for 60 minutes - £4.70 for 60 minutes - 20p

4. Manchester - £4 for 30 minutes - £4 for 30 minutes - No change

5. Edinburgh - £3.90 for 15 minutes - £3.90 for 15 minutes - No change

=6. London Gatwick - £3.80 for 30 minutes - £3.50 for 30 minutes - 30p

=6. London Heathrow - £3.80 for 30 minutes - £3.60 for 30 minutes - 20p

8. East Midlands - £3.50 for 30 minutes - £3 for 30 minutes - 50p

9. London City - £3.50 for 10 minutes - £2.50 for 10 minutes - £1

10. Glasgow - £2 for 10 minutes - £2 for 10 minutes - No change

11. Aberdeen - £2 for 20 minutes - £2 for 20 minutes - No change

=12. Belfast International - £1 for 10 minutes - £2 for 15 minutes - Changed bands

=12. Newcastle - £1 for 10 minutes - £1 for 10 minutes - No change

=12. Cardiff - £1 for 10 minutes - Free for 20 minutes - £1

=12. Southampton - £1 for 10 minutes - Free for 10 minutes - £1

16. Bristol - £1 for 20 minutes - £1 for 20 minutes - No change

17. Jersey - 70p for 30 minutes - 70p per 30 minutes - No change

18. Belfast City - Free for 10 minutes - Free for 10 minutes - No change

19. Liverpool John Lennon - Free for 40 minutes - Free for 20 minutes - 20 minutes

20. Leeds Bradford - Free for 60 minutes - Free for 60 minutes - No change

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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