UK airports: filing fees rise at two-thirds of airports


Filing fees have risen at two-thirds of major UK airports since 2019, research has found.

Sixteen of the 22 airports analyzed have introduced or increased fees for dropping off passengers in the past three years, according to an RAC survey.

The auto services company claimed drivers would be “stunned” by some of the “exorbitant” charges.

Airport with the highest fees

Stansted Airport continues to top the list for the so-called most expensive kiss and fly fees, which are usually levied to drop someone off as close to the terminal as possible.

Essex Airport’s initial charge is £7 for up to 15 minutes, an increase of £4 for 10 minutes in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

A Stansted spokesperson said the charge “makes an important contribution to promoting alternative and more sustainable transport options and reducing congestion on the airport and surrounding roads”.

Heathrow and Gatwick also charge for drop-offs

It is one of the many airports that offer free options to drop off passengers in medium or long-term car parks connected to the terminals by buses.

Eight airports charge £5 to drop off passengers.

Manchester Airport is giving drivers just five minutes to drop off travelers for £5 (up from £3 in 2019), while Liverpool John Lennon Airport has raised its fee from £3 for 20 minutes to £4 for 10 minutes.

Bristol Airport has increased its initial charge for 10 minutes from £1 to £5.

Stansted Airport. (Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images)

Scottish airports also have drop off fees

Dropping off passengers at Scotland’s three biggest airports isn’t much cheaper.

Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow airports have all doubled their charges over the past three years to £4 for 10 minutes.

Airports typically charge more for overtime associated with their initial fees.

Birmingham and Belfast International Airports have kept fares the same since 2019 (£3 for 15 minutes and £1 for 10 minutes respectively), while drivers can still take advantage of free drop-off areas near terminal entrances at Cardiff, London City and Belfast City Airports.

What did the RAC say?

RAC traffic policy manager Nicholas Lyes said limited public transport options for some airports and concerns about train strikes mean many passengers ask a friend or relative to take them.

He continued: “Anyone dropping off a loved one at the terminal this summer will be stunned by some of those dizzying kiss and drop loads.

“And for those using the UK’s two busiest airports, the luxury of free drop-off outside the terminal has been replaced by quite steep fees.

“Minute for minute and pound for pound, some of those costs could almost be as high as the plane ticket itself.”

Mr Lyes said it appears many airports have increased fees to “partly compensate for two years of lost revenue” during the pandemic.

What is the advice for drivers?

Mr Lyes advised drivers to research fees before heading to airports and warned them to be aware that many venues use cameras to enforce stopping bans in certain areas.

“Trying to drop off passengers without paying could result in high fees,” he added.

A spokesperson for the industry body, the Airport Operators Association, said airports are providing clear information on parking and disembarking fees to ensure travelers are “well informed about the range options tailored to their needs.

He added: “Airports that apply drop-off fees directly outside the terminal do so for a number of different reasons, including to manage congestion in areas with limited capacity and to limit environmental impacts. and the air quality of “kiss and fly” journeys. ”


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