London City Airport is enforcing a pick-up fee at the airport, Business Traveller has learned.
A reader recently notified us of this when an Uber car he had booked was required to use the Short Stay car park rather than picking him up from the drop off area.
London City's website directs private hire firms and cars wanting to pick-up to "Terminal (short) Parking previously known as Short Stay Parking".
So while it is still free to drop-off passengers (unlike Luton Airport - charges detailed here); private car pick-up, including uber pick up, is now being directed to the Terminal (Short) Parking, where the minimum charge is £7.50.
If private cars attempt to use the drop off point they are subject to fines. London City AIrport’s website makes the situation clear.
“Vehicles are not permitted to wait on the forecourt next to the terminal building and must not be left unattended, ANPR cameras are in use and fines will be [sic] issues.”
A spokesperson for the airport said that the airport offers free passenger drop-off, but that "Drivers are not permitted to wait and pick up from this area"
The spokesperson said there had not been a change in policy, but only one of enforcement.
"While this has always been the policy, the airport is enforcing it due to the increasing volume of traffic attempting to access the terminal front, causing congestion and disruption for departing passengers, public transport and emergency vehicles. A taxi rank is positioned outside the terminal for passengers’ convenience, while private drivers are advised to park in the short stay car park.
"The airport also enjoys excellent public transport links via the Docklands Light Railway, offering quick and easy access to central London.”
The move is unlikely to placate passengers, however.
Our reader commented
“I enjoy using London City Airport, which is convenient, and up until now has been a customer-friendly facility. Forcing customers to walk further from the terminal and pay to use an expensive short-term parking option (naturally a money maker for the airport), whilst permitting black cabs and private car rental firms to remain fairly static on the forecourt, is annoying. I understand the reasoning of congestion, but in my frequent use, congestion never seems to be an issue at all. My guess is this is all down to money-spinning under the guise of congestion, which is far from customer-friendly.... the airport might consider a scheme such as Nice's "Kiss-and-Fly" service, which allows five minutes free parking in a dedicated area close to the terminal.”
Last month London City Airport was sold (see news, February 2016) with a price reported to be £2 billion, but concerns have been expressed about how that price tag will be justified, most notably British Airways reportedly threatening to pull flights from the airport if landing charges were raised to increase revenue at the airport, see the Financial Times report here.