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Aberdeen Airport announces increase in drop-off zone fees

Aberdeen International Airport.
Aberdeen International Airport.

Drivers are facing yet another increase in the controversial drop-off parking fees at Aberdeen International Airport.

The latest rise in the charges has been implemented as part of the airport’s recovery strategy to recoup some of the cash lost to coronavirus in the last two years.

From February 1, drivers passing through the express zone at the front of the terminal will be charged £1 extra to use the facility for a 10-minute period.

Operations director Mark Beveridge said the increase is an “imperative” part of their efforts to battle the impact of the pandemic – including the loss of two million passengers and several key routes, as well as more than 400 jobs.

The £4 fee will, however, be waived for electric vehicles owners, who will be able to access the facility free of charge for the first 10 minutes.

Aberdeen International Airport operations director Mark Beveridge.

Recovery will take ‘years’

There will be no changes to the arrangements currently in place for blue badge holders, who will continue to be entitled to a free 30-minute period at the short-stay car park.

The long-stay car park will also continue to offer travellers half an hour of free parking, with an on-demand shuttle bus available as an alternative option.

Mr Beveridge added the increased drop-off fee is the first of a series of measures to be introduced at the airport as part of their long-term strategy post-Covid.

He said: “It will take years for the airport to return to pre-Covid levels, with current impact on our airport resulting in the loss of over two million passengers, key routes and over 400 jobs.

“Our airport is a large piece of infrastructure which demands continual investment, and we continue to do this at Aberdeen International Airport investing in our long-term sustainability strategy.

“It’s imperative we start what will be a long and challenging process of attracting airlines back to Aberdeen to restore the regional connectivity that the north-east relies on so heavily.”

How does Aberdeen Airport drop-off fee compare to others in the UK?

The drop-off fee at the airport’s express zone has now been set at £4 for the first 10 minutes – with motorist being charged an extra £6 if they stay over for another 20 minutes.

This is the third increase in the controversial fees in the last six years – with charges first doubling to £2 in 2016, and later rising further to £3 in 2019.

And while the decision to repeatedly bump up the price might have proven unpopular among drivers over the years, it’s not an unusual move for the industry on a UK-wide scale.

Aberdeen Airport is the last in Scotland to increase parking charges in an effort to make up for some of the cash it has lost during the pandemic.

Image by Christopher Donnan / DCT Media.

Bosses at Edinburgh Airport doubled their controversial drop-off fee in October 2020 – with charges going up to £4 – as part of a raft of changes to combat the impact of Covid.

Two months later, Glasgow Airport – which is owned by the same company running Aberdeen International Airport – followed suit and increased the entry fee for its dedicated pick-up and drop-off facility at the set price of £4 as well.

It means motorists in Scotland are currently charged only £1 less than those at some of the biggest and most popular airports in the UK – such as London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester Airport.

Fee increase another hit to rural communities

The increase has already been criticized by Conservative Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett, who said this would discourage even more people from travelling.

He said: “This increase will penalise passengers coming from rural areas who rely on a car to get to the airport.

“I’m extremely concerned that these changes will simply make people think twice and question how easy it is to travel from Aberdeen.

“Drop-off charges like this are also a hindrance if public transport is not working effectively.

“For many residents in Aberdeenshire, taking a bus to get to the airport is often longer than the flight itself which is completely unacceptable if we are to encourage people to use public transport.”

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