Manchester has become the latest UK airport to introduce a charge for passengers arriving by car.
The fees will start in June. They are £3 for three minutes and rising to a maximum of £4 for 10 minutess.
They will apply when passengers are dropped off in front of the terminals or the airport’s train station.
Airport management claim the fees are designed to tackle crippling congestion.
Quoted by the BBC, Manchester Airport’s COO Tricia Williams said:
“As passenger numbers have grown we have increasingly experienced major congestion problems on our terminal forecourts.”
“The simple fact is our forecourts were not designed to handle the number of vehicles they do today.”
As at other airports which have similar fees, car users (wanting to avoid the £3/£4) are directed to another, less than convenient, dropping off point. From there a shuttle bus has to be taken to the terminals.
Taxi drivers are unhappy. They have branded the fees a “cash cow”.
While there may be traffic congestion one cannot help thinking that this is yet another revenue-raising opportunity.
In previous times airports would simply raise revenue by charging airlines higher handling fees.
However today’s breed of airlines are no longer willing to pay more.
Airports are reluctant to press the matter for fear airlines will move flights elsewhere and this is bad for prestige.
The trouble with such fees is that once they are established the airport operator is free to raise them at a later date.