Gatwick airport which is the second biggest airport in Britain will charge £5 for cars dropping off or picking up passengers starting from 2021.
However, Gatwick is charging this fee to help the airport recover from the pandemic crisis and help promote sustainable travel. However, in the first six months of 2020, it lost £321 million. That is equivalent to £1,225 per minute between January and June.
The chief commercial officer, Jonathan Pollard, 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.”
“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.”
Pick-Up & Drop-off Fee
However, 15 percent of journeys to and from Gatwick journeys are currently “kiss and fly”. People can drop off the passengers free of charge at the front entrance to the South or North terminal.
However, people are supposed to pick arriving travelers at the airport at a short-term car park. Though in practice that does not happen.
From next year, Gatwick officials say, “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.”
However, this move will help reduce traffic congestion and emissions at Gatwick and the surrounding area says the airport.
But, Heathrow which is Gatwick’s larger rival does not charge any fee for picking up or dropping off. Whereas, many of the UK’s other big airports are charging fees for years.
Airports Charging Fees
Manchester, normally the third-busiest, has a fee of £3 for five minutes and £4 for 10 minutes. Its sister airport, Stansted, charges £5 for a drop-off lasting 10 minutes or less – increasing to £25 if over 15 minutes. But allows half-an-hour’s use of the short-stay car park free of charge for pick-ups.
Luton charges £4 for 10 minutes and £1 per minute thereafter. It warns, “A £95 enforcement charge is payable by drivers who stop their vehicles to drop off passengers on the approach roads, roundabout.”
One problem at Gatwick is that many local residents are routinely dropped off at the South Terminal entrance in order to access the train station. One of the busiest outside London.
Best Rail Links
However, Gatwick has by far the best rail links of any UK airport.
Specifically, because of its proximity to the main railway line from the capital to Brighton, it is London’s second airport.
Even though the Gatwick Express is currently not operating. There are six fast trains an hour to London and direct links to towns and cities. It includes Hastings, Portsmouth, Reading, Peterborough, and Cambridge.
Stansted, due mainly to extensive bus links, has the highest public transport usage of any major UK airport.