Next year, Gatwick will be introducing a charge for vehicles using the forecourt to drop off passengers directly outside its terminals – as most UK airports have done for many years – and the revenue raised will help the airport continue its recovery from the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
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.
Currently, cars are permitted to drop off passengers directly in front of both terminals. People picking up passengers are required to use the short stay car park, although this does not always happen, and some people use the forecourt to pick up.
A £5 charge will therefore be introduced for vehicles using the forecourt.
This charge will help Gatwick continue to meet its commitment to reduce ‘Kiss and Fly’ – the least sustainable type of journey to the airport as it involves two return car journeys – while also further encouraging public transport use and potentially cutting road traffic congestion and emissions at Gatwick and surrounding local areas.
Currently, around 15% of airport journeys are ‘Kiss and Fly’.
Gatwick is looking at solutions to allow those who regularly drop off and pick up at the South Terminal each day to access to the train station to make a token annual payment contribution. Suitable solutions for Blue Badge holder’s convenience are also being looked at.
Reducing the airport’s environmental impact continues to be an important focus and Gatwick plans to put a proportion of the revenue into Gatwick’s existing Sustainable Transport Fund.
No date has been set to introduce the new charging system but the first step includes a consultation on the implementation of a Red Route system across the airport campus to indicate that stopping to park, load or unload, board or alight from a vehicle is prohibited.
Revenue raised through Red Route fines will also be used to fund sustainable transport initiatives under the guidance of the airport’s Transport Steering Group, which includes external local representatives.
The airport benefits from strong public transport links, with recent improvements enabling a train leaving for London every three to four minutes – as regular as tube services – and a £4 million upgrade to an airport bus interchange benefitting the 3 million people who use it each year.
Around 650 local services arrive or depart the bus interchange each week, many of them 24-hour services.
Gatwick also remains committed to its investment in the ongoing £150 million project to upgrade the airport’s train station, which will make connections to other destinations easier by doubling the size of the station concourse, adding five new lifts and eight escalators to improve passenger flow, and widening two platforms to reduce overcrowding.
Jonathan 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.
“The airport already has strong public transport links and we will build on this with a proportion of the revenue raised supporting new sustainable transport initiatives. We will also continue to fund our share of the ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station.”