Gatwick Airport fee for passenger drop-offs starting in March
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the airport has announced the date on which the charges will start.
Dropping someone off at London Gatwick Airport (LGW) for free is about to be a thing of the past.
The move, originally announced in October 2020, will come into effect as of 8 March 2021. The West Sussex airport will now charge at least £5 for those wishing to pick up and drop off passengers.
Charges will start at £5 for 10 minutes for a quick goodbye or a well-timed pickup. Every additional minute after that will cost £1 and will be capped a total added time of 20 minutes. Therefore the maximum charge for a 30-minute stay will be £25. Blue badge holders will still get access free of charge as long as the car is registered online prior to travelling to Gatwick, according to the Independent.
The fee is in an effort to reduce “kiss and fly” drop-offs, which currently account for around 15% of LGW airport journeys. The airport believes that the added fee for dropping off curbside will encourage passengers to instead use public transport for getting to the airport.
“The initiative will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions for the surrounding area as well as being a deterrent for a car-led recovery once more regular travel resumes post the COVID-19 national lockdown”, said the airport in a statement.
Those who still want to drop off passengers at the airport without paying the new fee can use the long-stay car parks. The long-stay car parks include two hours of free parking, though the passenger will have to use a free shuttle bus to get to the terminals.
The airport said that it will use the extra revenue to help it recover and preserve jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the airport says that the added fee will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions at the airport and in its immediate surrounding areas.
“It is no secret that the airport is going through the most difficult period in its history and we have little choice but to explore new revenue streams that will help us recover from the COVID-19 crisis and continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region”, Gatwick Chief Commercial Officer Jonathan Pollard said in a statement.
In a bid to deter drivers from picking up and dropping off on roads surrounding the airport, a “Red Route” system will be put in place. Those caught using these areas instead of the designated pick-up-and-drop-off zones or long-stay car parks will be penalised.
The move will also likely mean that rides from London — or surrounding areas — to Gatwick with ride-hailing services, such as Uber, will also increase in price. Given that Uber now offers fixed, upfront pricing in the U.K., the new £5 fee should show in the fare before you accept the ride.
Currently, cars can use the forecourts to drop passengers off for no fee, however, for pick ups, cars are required to use the short-stay car park.
The airport is looking at solutions for travellers who regularly drop off and pick up at the South Terminal in order to use the train station.
It’s no secret that the airline industry in the U.K. has been knocked off its feet by the coronavirus pandemic — and Gatwick Airport is no exception. In March 2020, the airport closed its North Terminal, consolidating all operations to its South Terminal. However, the airport has since consolidated all operations to its North Terminal.
Featured photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
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