FURY has greeted the decision of Malaga Airport to charge drivers parking at the entrance to Terminal 3. People are now entitled to only 15 minutes to drop off or pick up relatives, collect luggage and say their goodbyes.
The area is now dubbed an ‘express zone’. It is marked by barriers and stays measured by the second. If you spent even a fraction over 15 minutes you will be charged. A 16 minute spell costs €1.79.
Predictably people have reacted angrily to the move. Users have already argued that the bulk of their free 15 minutes is spent just parking the car, while they have enjoyed an entirely free system for decades.
The rental car industry has gone berserk. President of the rental car association Aesva, Maria Garcia, described the decision as an ‘abuse’. She argues that at peak times more than 1,000 cars are rented each day at the airport and agencies have to spend a lot of time outside Terminal 3 waiting for bewildered passengers with delayed flights and lost luggage.
She has promised to fight the decision in the courts, alleging it poses a mortal threat to the rental industry and may cost hundreds of jobs.
In its defence, the airport has said the charges are necessary to encourage people to use alternative drop off sites, or the parking facilities, to improve traffic flow. They concede that they may be forced to lift the charges at peak times when the terminal is swamped. Parents and the disabled will also get reduced rates on any charges they incur.