GATWICK Airport has moved to appease angry staff and taxi drivers frustrated at being banned from accessing a popular drop-off and pick-up point - by saying they will soon be able to be dropped off at another building.
Last week the Crawley News revealed how signs had been installed at the entry route to Concorde House, at the back of the airport’s South Terminal, stating that no unauthorised access was allowed.
They also warned that any drivers caught travelling down there would receive penalty points on their licence.
The location has been popular with cabin crew and other airport employees who live in Crawley because it is closer to the town than the entrance to the South or North terminals.
Staff contacted the News to express their anger at having to pay an extra £8 for a return journey to one of the terminal entrances.
In the past week a petition has been set up by Virgin Atlantic cabin crew member and Southgate councillor Liam Marshall-Ascough calling for the decision to be reversed.
This received more than 200 signatures in 24 hours and gained the support of Crawley’s MP Henry Smith.
Since hearing the level of concern at the decision, airport representatives have clarified their longer-term position.
However, a spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport said it is essential the flow of traffic to Concorde House is managed while improvement work is completed.
This means taxis and cars will have to use either terminal entrance until the summer, although airline crew buses will still go directly to Concorde House.
From July taxis and cars will be able to drop off and pick up from Atlantic House, the new base for crew facilities, where airline buses will also arrive.
This is also located on Perimeter Road East, past Concorde House, through the tunnel located there.
Ryan Grice, vice-chairman of the Hackney Carriage Association, said this announcement is good news for the town’s taxi drivers but he questioned why it has taken so long to be shared.
He said: “I have been a taxi driver for 12 years and even before that, when taking family and friends to Gatwick, Concorde House has always been my location for the South Terminal.
“I think customers will see very similar fares to Atlantic House as they pay to go to and from Concorde House.
“If there is any difference in price I would say a journey will be only 40p or 60p more expensive.
“This is good news but why couldn’t Gatwick Airport Limited have told everyone this from the off? They have caused a lot of frustration by simply installing these signs and not sharing the full plans.”