Thursday, April 9, 2009

Airport imposes 'kiss and drop' charge

An airport in England is to start charging motorists to leave airline passengers in a "kiss and drop" zone outside its main terminal.

All drivers, including taxis, will have to fork out STG1 ($A2.07) for spending up to 10 minutes in the drop-off zone at Luton Airport, north of London.

Luton is the first airport in Britain to introduce such a charge.

The move comes after airport officials introduced a range of other charges for baggage trolleys, jumping security queues and the mandatory plastic bags required to carry small amounts of liquids on board as hand luggage.

The new drop off charge has been attacked by passengers, taxi drivers and airlines.

But Luton's general manager of projects and development Nic Hutton defended the payment.

"We have made this investment so that getting to the airport is easier and more convenient for all our passengers," he told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"Dropping passengers off can be a stressful experience; we have therefore given careful consideration to providing the right facilities and enough time for people to unload in a secure environment.

"Making a small charge reminds drivers of the 10 minute time allocation and keeps the traffic flowing."

Drivers wanting to avoid paying the new charge will have to drop passengers in the airport's car parks, which are free and a two-minute bus drive away from the terminal.