Gatwick Becomes Latest UK Airport To Introduce Forecourt Charges

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Following in the footsteps of London Heathrow, neighboring Gatwick has announced it will be implementing forecourt charges. From March 8th onwards, the cost to drop off or pick up passengers outside of the airport’s terminals will be a minimum of £5. The move is motivated by the ongoing crisis but also in line with sustainability efforts, the airport says.

Gatwick Airport airfield
Gatwick Airport is chasing extra revenue by introducing charges to drop passengers off outside the terminal. Photo: Gatwick Airport

Looking towards new revenue streams

It is not only airlines and their employees that have suffered unprecedentedly over the past twelve months. Airports have also struggled massively as a result of the ongoing crisis and prolonged travel restrictions.

The UK government has said it will soon have an aid package ready for the country’s airports through an Airports and Ground Operations Support Scheme. Meanwhile, they have been left to seek extra revenue through other means.

Following London-Heathrow’s introduction of forecourt charges at the beginning of December last year, the turn has now come to Gatwick Airport. From March 8th, there will be a minimum charge of £5 to drop off passengers at the North Terminal.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the aviation industry and as an airport need to look at new revenue streams to help us continue to protect jobs and income while we rebuild. Therefore, Gatwick is introducing a charge for vehicles dropping off passengers on the forecourt directly outside our terminals,” Gatwick Airport said in a statement seen by Simple Flying.

Gatwick forecourt map
The minimum charge will be £5, payable by midnight the day after the drop-off. Photo: Gatwick Airport

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Details of payment and free option

Prices will be as follows:

  • £5 for ten minutes.
  • £1 for each additional minute up to 20 minutes.
  • Maximum charge of £25 and a maximum length of stay 30 mins.

The same charges will apply for picking passengers up. Payment must be made by midnight the day after the visit. In case of non-payment, an additional fee will be added of £100, decreased to £60 if paid within two weeks.

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An autopay option will be set up where drivers can add their registration details and add credit. Taxis will be able to add the charge to the taxi fare.

Those wishing to drop off passengers for free will be able to use the airport’s long-term parking facilities. Parking is free for two hours, and there is a free-of-charge shuttle bus that goes to the terminal. As no flights are operating out of the South Terminal, there will temporarily be no fee for drop off there.

Gatwick North Terminal
All flights are currently operating out of Gatwick’s North Terminal. Photo: Gatwick Airport

Assisting with sustainability targets

Gatwick Airport says that the move also ties in with its sustainability efforts as it emerges on the other side of the crisis. It hopes it will encourage people to begin their travels by public transport, rather than by car.

“We also want to rebuild better and sustainability remains important to us as an airport. Encouraging more sustainable journeys to the airport, the drop off charge will also help Gatwick achieve its sustainability targets, including to achieve 48% of journeys by public transport as well as deterring a car led recovery after the pandemic.”

Do you think forecourt charges are a good source of extra revenue for an airport? Will it deter people from taking the car to get there? Tell us in the comments. 

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