Heathrow bosses want to charge £5 for cars to drop passengers at departures in desperate bid to claw back some of airport’s £1.5billion lockdown losses
- Heathrow looking into charging drivers £5 to drop off passengers at departures
- Plan appears to be a bid to claw back money it has lost due to Covid pandemic
- Details of how charged will be administered is expected to be finalised in 2021
Heathrow bosses are planning on charging drivers £5 to drop off passengers at departures.
The new plan appears to be a desperate bid from the airport’s chiefs to claw back the money it has lost amid the coronavirus outbreak.
In October, Heathrow lost its status as Europe’s busiest airport as it recorded a loss of £1.5billion in the first nine months of the year due to Covid-19.
Heathrow bosses are planning on charging drivers £5 to drop off passengers at departures
The new plan appears to be a desperate bid from the airport’s chiefs to claw back the money it has lost amid the coronavirus outbreak
Passenger numbers between July and September were down by more than 84 per cent compared with the same period in 2019, leading the airport to be overtaken by Paris Charles de Gaulle as the busiest in Europe.
Now, in an attempt to regain some of the money it lost, it is ‘exploring’ several plans including charging motorists for drop offs at departures.
In a statement, the airport said: ‘Heathrow has announced it is exploring a proposal to implement a Forecourt Access Charge (FAC) for vehicles in late 2021 to prevent a car led airport recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘The charge, expected to be around £5, is part of several revisions to the airport’s surface access plan as a result of the near collapse in passenger numbers and £1.5bn losses incurred in 2020.’
Revenue raised by the charges will be used to ‘offset airport costs, including future sustainable transport investments, as well as lowering the charges for passengers.’
Details of how the charges will be administered is expected to be finalised in 2021.
The charge is expected to come in from late next year.
Details of how the charges will be administered is expected to be finalised in 2021
In October, Heathrow lost its status as Europe’s busiest airport as it recorded a loss of £1.5billion in the first nine months of the year due to Covid-19. The forecourt outside Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport is pictured above
The Forecourt Access Charge, as the fee will be known, will apply to all vehicles entering the forecourts of Heathrow’s terminals, although some exceptions will apply such as blue badge holders and emergency vehicles.
The full list of exemptions has yet to be finalised.
Heathrow Director of Surface Access Tony Caccavone said: ‘The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been severe, especially on the aviation industry with Heathrow passenger numbers down over 80% and the business losing £5m a day.
‘These changes will help us to protect the business financially and save jobs in the short term, whilst also allowing us to stay on track for our long-term goals of providing safe, sustainable and affordable transport options into the future.’
The change will also see the airport scrap its controversial Heathrow Ultra Low Emissions Zone.
The HULEZ was introduced last year and would have seen passengers driving to catch flights at Heathrow face a £15 pollution surcharge.
The airport was set to introduce the measure in 2022 to improve air quality and cut congestion.
The Forecourt Access Charge, as the fee will be known, will apply to all vehicles entering the forecourts of Heathrow’s terminals. Above, an aerial view of planes parked at Terminal 4 of London’s Heathrow Airport
However, the hub added: ‘The revised plan ensures Heathrow remains able to meet its long-term public transport goals and, other measures, including HULEZ, can still be implemented if needed.’
Airlines have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with Ryanair flying just two million passengers in November as demand for air travel continued to be affected by restrictions.
The Dublin-based airline said this represents an 82% decline from the same month in 2019, when it carried 10.9 million travellers.
The total number of passengers to use the carrier during the first 11 months of the year was 61.4 million, down 59% on the figure of 151.6 million during the same period in 2019.
Wizz Air recorded an 85% reduction in passengers in November, to just half a million.
During the month, its load factor – the average proportion of seats taken on aircraft – was 68%, compared with 93% in November 2019.
Airlines have blamed Covid-19 restrictions for putting people off flying.