Heathrow Airport has come under fire for “ripping off” motorists after increasing the price of short-stay car parking at one of its busiest terminals by as much as 66%.
Heathrow Airport confirmed yesterday that the price of parking at Terminal 4 for between one and two hours in the evening “peak” was now £12 – compared with £7.20 for 90 minutes at the beginning of September.
Short-stay car parking prices at all Heathrow Airport terminals increased in the middle of September by as much as 39%, but additional peak morning and evening rates were introduced at Terminal 4 last week.
A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said last night that the airport wanted to “manage demand” at Terminal 4 because of huge problems with queues that “tail back to the motorway”.
They also added that Terminal 4 carries a large number of flights from the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent and “a lot of family members come to see their loved ones off”, causing over-crowding in the car park.
But chauffer and taxi operators are incensed at the price hikes, claiming that it is putting an “unfair burden” on their business.
Heathrow Airport said that the September increases brought them in line with Gatwick Airport and followed requests from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for them to generate additional income through “commercial activities”, to try and reduce the inflationary pressure on regulated airline charges.
The Heathrow spokesperson said: “They want us to make more money from our commercial activities, be it selling handbags or parking.”
The increase in car parking prices comes just weeks after the CAA capped Heathrow Airport’s landing charges for the next five years, so they can now only rise in line with inflation.
Willie Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways-owner IAG, said in September that his counterpart at Heathrow should be sacked over the inefficiencies at the airport.
He also accused the airport of using passengers as “cash cows” to generate dividends for its owners, ranging from Spanish conglomerate Ferrovial, to Chinese, Qatari and Singapore sovereign wealth funds.
“Heathrow is ripping off passengers, it’s inefficient, and it’s been grossly over rewarded by the CAA”, Mr Walsh added.
The price increases for short-stay car parking come just weeks before one of Heathrow Airport’s busiest periods of the year, with the run up to Christmas and New Year.
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