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Gatwick to charge drivers to drop off passengers outside terminals

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Image: Google Streetview

Next year Gatwick will be introducing a charge for vehicles using the forecourt to drop off passengers directly outside its terminals – as most UK airports have done for many years – and the revenue raised will help the airport continue its recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

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 therefore be introduced for vehicles using the forecourt.  This charge will help Gatwick 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 – while also further encouraging public transport use and potentially cutting road traffic congestion and emissions at Gatwick and surrounding local areas.  Currently around 15% of airport journeys are ‘Kiss and Fly’.

Gatwick is looking at solutions to allow those who regularly drop off and pick up at the South Terminal each day to access to the train station to make a token annual payment contribution.  Suitable solutions for Blue Badge holder’s convenience 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.  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 local representatives.

The airport 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 3 million people who use it each year.  Around 650 local services arrive / depart 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.

Jonathan Pollard Chief Commercial Officer, said:

Gatwick has just gone through the most challenging period in its history and this new drop off charging scheme will  give us a new revenue stream to aid recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and ultimately help us continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.

“Gatwick is also committed to promoting sustainable travel and this new scheme will encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including public transport services or parking options at the airport, which only involves two single car trips, compared to two return trips when dropping off.

“The airport already has strong public transport links and we will build on this with a proportion of the revenue raised supporting new sustainable transport initiatives.  We will also continue to fund our share of the ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station.”

Gatwick

Gatwick Airport to receive £8 million Government grant to protect local jobs and bounce back after coronavirus

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Crawley’s MP Henry Smith has welcomed an announcement from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that Gatwick Airport is now able to apply for a Government grant worth up to £8 million per business, helping to protect jobs and the local economy in Crawley.

The Airport and Ground Operators Support Scheme, which opened on Friday 29th January, will help Gatwick (and other commercial airports across England) to cover losses on costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rate bills.

Airports and ground handlers can apply to the scheme on GOV.UK, and if successful, should receive their funding by the end of the financial year.

The financial support scheme, which follows the Government’s extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, is open for applications until 21st February 2021.

This investment will help support Gatwick Airport following the introduction of international travel restrictions designed to protect public health and prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the Government continues to roll out its world-leading vaccination programme.

Henry said;

“I’m pleased that Gatwick Airport will receive up to £8 million to help it protect jobs during these challenging times.

“This funding offers vital support for Gatwick Airport – which supports so many jobs and businesses in Crawley.

“The Government has provided unprecedented levels of support to protect jobs and businesses through the pandemic, and this latest support will be hugely important for helping Crawley to build back better after coronavirus.

“As Crawley MP and Chair of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group I’ve continued to urge Government to ensure support for the industry and this will remain my call to ministers.”

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented;

“A thriving aviation industry has been central to the success of this country and while we recognise the testing conditions airports are currently facing as a result of the pandemic, I believe that the sector will be ready to bounce back once restrictions are lifted.

“Today’s scheme is another step in the right direction, providing vital support for an industry that is raring to get back to business, once it is safe to do so.”

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