By MARTIN GRAHAM
CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to lobby Edinburgh Airport’s incoming chief executive about scrapping controversial new plans to charge motorists £1 for dropping off passengers.
Conservative MSP for the Lothians Gavin Brown was out on the streets of Edinburgh yesterday to rally support against the so-called ‘kiss and fly’ charge which BAA plan to introduce.
Kevin Brown, currently chief of Aberdeen airport, is due to take over as Managing Director at Edinburgh airport on 1 August.
Aberdeen airport has decided against introducing the charge for cars dropping off passengers outside the terminal building.
Speaking about the proposed levy, Mr Brown said he hoped the new broom would take a similar stance in the capital.
He said: “Aberdeen and Glasgow airports have both ruled out these charges.
“If the new managing director thinks it’s wrong for Aberdeen I’m not sure how he can say he thinks it’s right for Edinburgh.
“I have written to Kevin Brown and asked for a very early meeting, he has responded to say that he will be in touch as soon as he starts.
“The campaign is growing by the day; people are pretty outraged by it and want to make a stand.”
Belfast airport recently introduced a similar charge for dropping off passengers.
Gavin Brown described the reaction from people in Belfast to the charge: “There wasn’t much of a fuss made initially in Belfast, but as soon as they implemented it at the beginning of July people have gone pretty crazy, really objecting to it now that it’s there.
“My understanding is that Birmingham Airport does it, and a number of people from Birmingham have actually signed our petition and said that they wished someone had stood up at the time and stopped this from coming in.
“The Green party have got behind this and signed our motion in the Parliament.
“The main point is that for people in the Lothians you just can’t get public transport to the airport, there’s a great bus service from the city centre but if you don’t live on the bus route then there’s no alternative to the car.
“It’s effectively a punitive tax on airport passengers.”
Jenny Robertson, 58, from Edinburgh, stopped to chat to the MSP about the situation.
She said: “I’m against the charge, it would affect me and my 26 year old son who is studying for a post graduate qualification in Edinburgh.”
Hazel Borthwick, 25, was visiting Edinburgh to carry out research at the General Register Office for her job as a Film Production Co-ordinator.
She is also against the idea of a drop off charge. She said: “I think it’s a terrible idea.
“I go to the airport a lot and I would not pay a fee to drop people off.”
But a spokesman for Edinburgh Airport said: “The £1 charge is optional, dropping off passengers at Edinburgh Airport remains free of charge and people with special needs will be looked after.
“Every penny raised by the alternative drop-off facility will be reinvested in airport facilities, the promotion of public transport and community projects.”