New Bournemouth Airport £2.50 drop-off fee comes into force
A new £2.50 drop-off and pick-up charge at Bournemouth Airport has started.
Previously vehicles had been allowed to park for free for up to 10 minutes and the fee was only applied for a stay of between 10 and 30 minutes.
But all vehicles will now be charged £2.50 for up to 30 minutes. Marshals will be on hand to assist drivers.
The move has been criticised by taxi firms which will have to pay for every time their cars visit. The airport said the charge will affect a "minority".
United Taxis said it carried out an average of between 60 to 80 drop-offs and picks-ups at the airport a day, which will incur a new daily cost of between £150 to £200.
New £45m terminal
Ian Barber, director of United Taxis, warned his firm may have to add the cost to the price of customers' fares.
He also raised concerns that the move may lead to private vehicles blocking the roads outside the airport while dropping passengers off so they can avoid the charge.
The airport said signs informing drivers of the changes have been put up in prominent places and travel agents have been told to inform passengers in advance.
The move comes after a new £45m departures terminal designed to cope with three million passengers a year opened at Bournemouth in June 2010.
However, during most of the winter months only one flight a day left the airport.
Rob Goldsmith, managing director, said most passengers left their cars at the airport while they were away, paying on-site parking charges "among the cheapest in southern England".
He admitted some passengers will be "disappointed" but said he hoped they will understand it was a "commercial decision" brought about by the economic downturn.
A number of other airports across the UK have also introduced a drop-off charge, including Edinburgh, Newcastle and East Midlands Airport.