The new initiative aims to help in the recovery from the economic impact of COVID-19, as well as reducing ‘kiss and fly’ journeys
From next year, vehicles using the forecourt to drop passengers off directly outside terminals at Gatwick Airport will be charged. The facility says funds gathered from the new charge will aid the gateway’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
Passengers wishing not to pay the charge can be picked up and dropped off in the long stay car parks, where there are two hours free parking. Regular shuttle buses also run to the terminals from the complex.
The £5 charge will also help the reduction of ‘kiss and fly’ which the operators say is the least sustainable way to travel to the airport as it involves two return car journeys. Around 15% of airport trips are using this method of travel.
Passengers will continue to be encouraged to use public transport, which will help cut down road traffic congestion and emissions at the hub.
Gatwick’s strong public transport links provide many benefits for travellers. Options include a train that leaves for London every three to four minutes, as well as a £4m upgrade to the airport bus interchange. Many of the vehicles run 24-hours and provide around 650 local services each week.
Solutions for those who regularly drop off and pick up at the south terminal are currently being looked at. It is possible a scheme will be introduced where passengers may be required to make an annual payment contribution. Solutions for those who have a blue badge are also being explored.
Before plans can begin, consultation about implementing a ‘red route’ system is set to occur. This will allow vehicles to know where stopping, loading and unloading are prohibited. Fines collected from the ‘red route’ will be put towards sustainable transport initiatives.
The airport has been impacted greatly by the global pandemic and is hoping to recover economically whilst also committing to providing more sustainable travel.
Jonathon 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.”
There is currently no set date for the introduction of the new charge.