Gatwick Airport confirms implementation of forecourt charges from March 2021
From 8 March 2021, vehicles using the forecourt of Gatwick’s North Terminal to drop off or collect passengers will be required to pay a minimum charge of £5.
Credit: Steve Bates/ Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) has confirmed, following an initial announcement of plans for the scheme in October 2020, that it will introduce a £5 charge from 8 March 2021 for vehicles which drop off passengers directly outside of its North Terminal, where all flights are currently operating to and from. The charge will be extended to the South Terminal forecourt at a later date.
The initiative will help to reduce traffic congestion and emissions for the surrounding area, as well as act as a deterrent for a car-led recovery once more regular travel resumes following the lifting of the current COVID-19 national lockdown. The charge will also create a vital new revenue stream for the airport, providing further protection for local jobs as the negative economic impacts of the pandemic continue.
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 terminal. Alternatively, passengers can arrive by public transport, taking advantage of the significant improvements to train and bus services to the airport in recent years.
By encouraging other forms of journey to the airport, the charge will help Gatwick to 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 – and may contribute to a reduction in traffic at Gatwick and surrounding local areas.
In 2019, around 15 per cent of airport journeys were ‘Kiss and Fly’. Reducing the airport’s environmental impact continues to be an important focus, and Gatwick will make a contribution from the revenue into Gatwick’s existing Sustainable Transport Fund.
Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer at Gatwick Airport, 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 to 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,” he added.
The charge will be £5 for 10 minutes and £1 for each additional minute, up to 20 minutes. The maximum charge will be £25 and the maximum length of stay is 30 mins.
The charging system and enforcement will be managed using convenient barrier free technology and by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras. Passengers using the system will be able to pay online using a range of payment methods. Marshals will also be on hand in the forecourts to assist passengers.
Blue badge holders will be able to access the forecourt free of charge by registering their details up to three months in advance before arriving at the airport.
When the charge is introduced for the South Terminal, at a later date, local commuters living within a limited number of postcode sectors close to the airport 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 being introduced 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 representatives from local authorities and transport operators.
The airport already 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 three million people who use it each year. Pre-COVID-19 pandemic, around 650 local services arrived/ departed 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.