Gatwick airport has confirmed that it will begin charging vehicles for the use of its North Terminal forecourt from March 8.
Business Traveller first reported on the airport’s plans to introduce a forecourt fee back in October last year, with Gatwick arguing that “most UK airports have done this for many years”.
Drivers will be charged £5 for ten minutes, plus £1 for each additional minute up to 20 minutes, with a maximum fee of £25, and a maximum length of stay of 30 minutes.
Enforcement will be through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, with customers able to pay “using a range of payment methods including credit or debit card, Google and Apple Pay”.
Marshals will also be on hand to assist, with Gatwick having appointed National Car Parks Ltd as its operations partner on forecourt charging.
The charge will apply to both drop offs and pick ups from March 8, and will initially apply to the North Terminal only, from which all of the airport’s flights are currently operating. It will be extended to the South Terminal forecourt “at a later date”.
When the charge is extended to the South Terminal, local commuters living within a limited number of postcode areas close to the airport (RH6 0, RH6 9, RH11 0) with no public transport access, will be allowed two visits per day to use the train station by paying an annual £50 charge.
A Red Route system is also being introduced across the airport campus to indicate that stopping to park, load or unload, board or alight from a vehicle is prohibited, and revenue raised through Red Route fines will be used to fund sustainable transport initiatives under the guidance of the airport’s Transport Steering Group.
Gatwick said that the move “will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions for the surrounding area as well as being a deterrent for a car-led recovery once more regular travel resumes post the Covid-19 national lockdown”.
But it also admits that the charge will be “a vital new revenue stream for the airport, providing further protection for local jobs as the negative economic impacts of the pandemic continue”.
Blue badge holders will be exempt from the charge, and Gatwick said that those not wishing to pay the charge will be able to drop off or pick up passengers in the airport’s long-stay car parks, which offer two hours free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminal, or can opt to arrive by public transport.
Commenting on the news Jonathan Pollard, chief commercial officer, said:
“It is no secret that the airport is going through the most difficult period in its history and we have little choice but to explore new revenue streams that will us help us recover from the Covid-19 crisis and continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.
“This new scheme will also encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including taking advantage of our excellent public transport services. We plan to use this charge to build on these services by using a proportion of the revenue raised to support new sustainable transport initiatives, in addition to our ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station which is progressing well.”