A private hire firm claims its future could be in jeopardy following a decision by bosses at Leeds Bradford Airport to axe a scheme which allowed drivers access to the pick-up point outside the main terminal, without having to pay the usual fee.
Until now, SJK Cars has paid an annual charge of up to £35 to be a member of the airport’s Voyager scheme, which meant its drivers were exempt from the £2 charge, paid to allow vehicles access to the concourse outside the main arrivals and departures hall.
Airport management confirmed yesterday Voyager has been discontinued and replaced by an hour’s parking now available available free of charge in a car park a few minutes’ walk from the terminal.
A statement added a free shuttle bus will also run 24 hours a day.
A spokesperson added: “There is also an option for all users to use the terminal front express car park which costs £2 for up to 30 minutes.”
But Mr Murphy claims the distance to the free car park will still be a major obstacle for elderly customers or families with heavy cases - and finding they’re not being dropped outside the doors of the airport could put many off making a booking.
“I think it’s appalling that we’ve only been given nine days’ notice that Voyager has been scrapped - and just before the summer season starts,” said Mr Murphy. “I’ve just invested a lot of money in marketing which says we have access to the drop-off and pick-up points close to the terminal and that we don’t charge extra - and then this happens.
“As we also have contracts with concessions inside the terminal, our drivers sometimes make three or four runs to the airport to pick up or drop off staff every day. If we had to pay £2 every time, this could cost us up to £130,000 a year.”