Edinburgh Airport fights back against Covid challenge

Changes to Edinburgh Airport’s forecourt will be introduced next month to assist the airport cope with the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, and in response to feedback from passengers.

Tuesday, 27th October 2020, 7:12 am
Pic Lisa Ferguson/JPI Media 15/06/2020

The changes at the airport, which has seen passenger numbers drop by 91 per cent this year, will see: The opening of a new £7 million East Terminus facility which provides a dedicated area for taxis and private-hire cars; A harmonisation of charges to a £4 fee for both pick-up (£1 less) and drop-off (£2 more); Time in drop-off doubling from five to 10 minutes; A discount of £2 for people with electric cars; A discount scheme for households in neighbouring areas; Retention of the free drop-off zone, temporarily moving to Mid-Stay.

The changes will come into effect from November 9, supported by new signage in the area and social media activity.

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport said: “The changes will make things easier to understand for users as requested in much of the feedback we received, as is the doubling in time for use in that area. We’ll also be offering incentives for those with electric cars as we move towards more sustainable methods of transport

An artist's impression of the new East Terminus, part of the £20m redevelopment at Edinburgh Airport.

“However, we can’t deny that the drastic impact of Covid-19 has also forced our hand on the pricing change.

“We are 91 per cent down on passenger numbers, with less routes and airlines operating, and we’re having to operate with a quarantine policy that is a travel ban in all but name. All of that drastically impacts on finances and right now we stand to lose £60m in 2020, which makes it incredibly difficult for us to remain competitive and attract back those airlines and routes in the coming months unless we increase revenue to survive a very bleak winter.

“More importantly, we don’t want to lose more staff – we want to preserve as many jobs as possible. We’ve already had to say goodbye to a third of our workforce through no fault of their own and we’ve done that to right-size the airport, but forecasting future passenger numbers is almost impossible at the moment so we don’t quite know what size that’ll be. To make sure we are ready to recover then we have to have a staff base that allows us to do so.”

The new £7 million East Terminus will also open in November, providing a dedicated facility for taxis and private hire cars, and is partly made possible by drop-off and pick-up charges

Gordon added: “This is one of the airport’s biggest capital projects in recent times and was one we were keen to see through despite the Covid-19 pandemic. We have to change to make access easier and the East Terminus is the first step in a wider project that will include a second access road.

“It’s an example of how those charges are used to make improvements for users and keep the airport competitive and attractive to airlines, who want to know their passengers can get to and from their start or end destinations as easily as possible. We’ll continue to make improvements where possible, but finances will clearly dictate.”