As of October 2021, London’s Heathrow Airport rides by Uber, Addison Lee, black Cabs, and other companies will soon cost significantly more. In addition, they must pay a fee if they wish to drop you off curbside in the departure hall.
All vehicles entering the areas outside the terminals will have to pay the fee starting in October. For those dropping off directly outside the airport terminals, an airport terminal drop-off fee of £5 will apply. More than £2billion was lost by the airport due to the pandemic. As a result, the airport management is doing its best to get it back.
In some cases, there may be exceptions, such as for people with blue badges and emergency vehicles. No drop-off charges will be applied to passengers arriving via public transportation and Heathrow Express rail lines. Parking at the airport continues to be charged at its normal rates.
All vehicles in the forecourts outside terminals, including taxis, Ubers, personal cars, will be charged the new fee. Number plate cameras will be used instead of ticket barriers to determine the cars which will fail to pay the fee. After passengers are dropped off, they must pay the £5 parking fee online or with the help of a mobile phone. According to the Sun, those who don’t pay the fee will receive Parking Charge Notices.
The airport says its new policy, which makes it comparable to Gatwick and Manchester, which impose the same £5 fee for drop-offs, will improve air quality and reduce congestion. According to management, the change might generate as much as £100 million a year, with the airport losing around £5 million a day through the Covid pandemic.
“In October, Heathrow will introduce a Terminal Drop-Off fee which will assist the airport’s recovery following the Pandemic, enabling Heathrow to meet its Surface Access new goals,” said a Heathrow spokesperson. “We will achieve our long-term goals of providing low-cost, sustainable transportation options into the future while safeguarding the business financially so it can recover from the crisis.” As a result of the pandemic’s impact on passenger numbers, the updates were made following a review of the plans.
“Picking up passengers from the terminal forecourts will not be affected since this is prohibited,” said the airport. “Passengers will be able to reach the terminal via the car parks.”
Those planning to circumvent the new $5 fee will go into effect next month and still have options. There will be free bus transfers between the Long Stay terminal car parks and the airport terminals.
The airline recorded 170,000 cars and hired vehicles traveling through the airport in 2019 – pre-pandemic – of which 45,000 were employees. It is estimated that the airport could collect as much as £300,000-per-day in parking charges if traffic figures return to pre-pandemic levels and just half of the remaining 125,000 vehicles are dropped off in the charge zones for departures. Without drop-off charges, Heathrow made around £126million in parking fees in 2018.
Taxi unions have reacted angrily to the new fee, arguing that its drivers should be exempt from the fee. Even though the move will provide much-needed cash for Heathrow, taxi drivers have opposed the new fee. As a result, the Covid pandemic has already caused serious damage to an already suffering industry.
NPHA president Dave Lawrie said he understood why airports implemented such fees. Other airports have already implemented similar policies. According to him, as long as the Covid situation is left alone, our industry should be exempt.
It is no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has devastated the travel and aviation industries. Despite Europe’s busiest airport once again declining to the ground, Heathrow has now lost over £2 billion since the pandemic began. According to the airline, passenger numbers slumped by 75% to 3.9 million over the past year, resulting in a pre-tax loss of $868 million.