Heathrow looks like becoming the only major London airport not to charge for dropping off passengers when Gatwick moves ahead with a scheme next year.
Gatwick last week announced plans to charge for vehicles using the forecourt to set down passengers directly outside its terminals.
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 be introduced for vehicles using the forecourt.
Gatwick is looking at solutions allowing those who regularly drop-off and pick-up at the South Terminal each day to access the train station and make a token annual payment contribution. Suitable arrangements for Blue Badge holders’ 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.
The airport benefits from strong public transport links including a £4m upgrade to an airport bus interchange benefitting the 3m people who use it each year. Around 650 local services arrive / depart the bus interchange each week, many of them 24hr services.