Parking charges for those picking up and dropping off passengers at some of the UK’s busiest airports have been hiked up to “eye-watering” levels, a study has found.
Eight of the top 20 airports have increased tariffs this year, according to the research by motoring firm RAC, which advised drivers to “keep goodbyes to a minimum” as five airports raised fees for dropping off departing passengers.
RAC spokesman Simon Williams warned the increased charges will be viewed by drivers as “another way of making money out of them”.
The comments come after fees rose by as much as 100% in the past year while some airports introduced completely new charges.
The study found London Luton charged the most for collecting passengers at £7 for 40 minutes, London Stansted followed with £5 for half an hour, and Birmingham came third with £4.90 for one hour.
Stansted is the most costly for dropping off passengers at £3.50 for 10 minutes, 50p more than Luton’s charge for the same time.
Liverpool John Lennon comes third £3 for 20 minutes, although a secondary drop-off point, which requires a five to 10 minutes’ walk is free.
Mr Williams said: “The eye-watering drop-off and pick-up costs at some airports is likely to be viewed by drivers as another way of making money out of them, particularly in instances where public transport to and from the airport simply isn’t a viable option.
“This year many airports have increased the already sky-high prices they charge for short-stay parking near their departure and arrival terminals making a good deed a costly experience.
“Drop-off charges are the biggest bone of contention as for many they appear severe when they are simply pulling up for less than five minutes and often don’t even get out of the car themselves.”
Seven airports offer free drop-off parking by terminals. They are: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast City and Jersey.
But trade group, the Airport Operators Association, said income from parking supported investment in facilities and “allows airports to keep charges to airlines low, benefiting travellers through lower air fares”.
A spokesman said airports provide clear information about the cost of parking options, ensuring passengers have a “high level of awareness” of different ways to get to the airport.
He also said drop-off charges helped manage congestion and limit the environmental impact of journeys.
:: Cost of collecting passengers based on minimum stay charges (top five most expensive)
1. London Luton – £7 for 40 minutes
2. London Stansted – £5 for 30 minutes (an increase of 50p from 2016)
3. Birmingham – £4.90 for 60 minutes (an increase of 20p from 2016)
4. Manchester – £4 for 30 minutes
5. Edinburgh – £3.90 for 15 minutes
:: Cost of dropping off passengers based on recommended set-down parking (top five most expensive)
1. London Stansted – £3.50 for 10 minutes (an increase of 50p from 2016)
2. London Luton – £3 for 10 minutes
3. Liverpool John Lennon – £3 for 20 minutes (an increase of £1 from 2016)
4. Leeds Bradford – £3 for 30 minutes
5. Birmingham – £2 for 10 minutes (an increase of £1 from 2016)
5. Glasgow International – £2 for 10 minutes (was previous free in 2016)
5. East Midlands – £2 for 10 minutes