Gatwick will introduce a charge for vehicles using the forecourt to drop off passengers directly outside its terminals from next year.
The revenue raised will help the airport continue its recovery from the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis.
Anyone who does not wish to pay the charge will be able to drop-off or pick-up passengers in the long-stay car parks with two hours free parking and a free shuttle bus to the terminals.
Currently, cars are permitted to drop off passengers directly in front of both terminals.
People picking up passengers are required to use the short stay car park, although this does not always happen, and some people use the forecourt to pick up.
A £5 charge will therefore be introduced for vehicles using the forecourt.
This charge will help Gatwick continue to meet its commitment to reduce ‘kiss and fly’ – the least sustainable type of journey to the airport as it involves two return car journeys – while also further encouraging public transport use and potentially cutting road traffic congestion and emissions at Gatwick and surrounding local areas.
Currently around 15 per cent of airport journeys use this method.
Jonathan Pollard chief commercial officer, said: “Gatwick has just gone through the most challenging period in its history and this new drop off charging scheme will give us a new revenue stream to aid recovery from the Covid-19 crisis and ultimately help us continue as an important provider of economic prosperity and jobs across the region.
“Gatwick is also committed to promoting sustainable travel and this new scheme will encourage passengers to consider more sustainable transport options, including public transport services or parking options at the airport, which only involves two single car trips, compared to two return trips when dropping off.
“The airport already has strong public transport links and we will build on this with a proportion of the revenue raised supporting new sustainable transport initiatives.
“We will also continue to fund our share of the ongoing project to build a new £150 million airport train station.”
Gatwick is looking at solutions to allow those who regularly drop off and pick up at the South Terminal each day to access to the train station to make a token annual payment contribution.
Suitable solutions for Blue Badge holder’s convenience are also being looked at.
No date has been set to introduce the new charging system but the first step includes a consultation on the implementation of a Red Route system across the airport campus to indicate that stopping to park, load or unload, board or alight from a vehicle is prohibited.
The airport benefits from strong public transport links, with recent improvements enabling a train leaving for London every three to four minutes and a £4 million upgrade to an airport bus interchange benefitting the three million people who use it each year.
Around 650 local services arrive / depart the bus interchange each week, many of them 24-hour services.