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UK airports hike car parking charges, RAC research reveals

Passengers walk through a gate at London Stansted Airport. Photo: PA

Many UK airports have hiked charges for car parking, according to fresh data published on Thursday.

Research by the RAC revealed eight of the top 20 airports increased their charges in 2017, while five airports raised fees for dropping off passengers.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said people picking up or dropping passengers from airports should "be prepared for an unpleasant shock."

Passengers at London Luton pay £7 for 40 minutes of parking, the most in the UK, according to the report. At London Stansted, motorists are charged £5 for a half an hour stay; at Birmingham it’s £4.90 for one hour.

For dropping off, London Stansted charges £3.50 for 10 minutes — 50p more than London Luton. At Liverpool John Lennon, it’s £3 for 20 minutes in the drop-off zone.

Passengers at London Luton pay £7 for 40 minutes of parking. Credit: PA

"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," Williams said.

"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: London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, Cardiff, Manchester, Belfast City and Jersey.

A spokesman for trade association the Airport Operators Association said income from parking "allows airports to keep charges to airlines low, benefiting travellers through lower air fares."