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Free parking at Southend Airport
6:00am Wednesday 9th January 2013 in News
PASSENGERS flying from Southend Airport will be able to park for free for two months - as a birthday gift from airport bosses.
One year after the airport’s new £10million terminal opened, chiefs have decided to waive the fee for their long-stay car park during January and February to celebrate a booming 12 months.
The move means customers who book in advance will be able to avoid the £10-a-day fee usually levied for holidaymakers and business people heading abroad.
Alastair Welch, the airport’s managing director, said: “We have decided to make this free parking offer leading up to the first anniversary of the terminal opening as a thanks to the passengers - our growing reputation as an airport of choice for passengers in Essex, London and the South East is all thanks to their support.
“We also want it to be an incentive for new travellers to come and try the unique airport experience we are offering here at Southend for the first time.”
Export trader Peter Williams, who has used the airport’s Amsterdam service in the past, welcomed the move.
He said: “Parking charges can start to add up, particularly when you regularly fly for business. “I think this is a great way to reward passengers.”
An estimated 800,000 people flew from Southend during 2012.
The airport’s owners, Stobart Group, embarked on a £100million investment plan which included the new terminal, a railway station, control tower and runway extension after buying the site in 2008.
The expansion was enough to attract budget airline easyJet, which started flights last April and now offers ten routes across Europe.
A new destination, Venice, will be added to the departure boards next month. The free parking deal will apply to Long Stay 2 - the airport’s largest car park - for passengers who book through www.southendairport.com, although some dates may be restricted.
Southend is already among the cheapest airports to park at in the UK, with long-stay prices £5 lower than Stansted, £7.90 lower than Heathrow and £30 lower than London City.
Mr Welch said: “Over the past year, Southend Airport passengers have been very pleased to discover that our car parking prices are still amongst the lowest of all the London airports.
“In addition, we are the only London airport to offer a free period in our short stay car park for their convenience.”
However, Lorraine Larman, whose family runs rival parking firm Southend Airport Car Park, said she was worried by the move.
Ms Larman, the company’s financial director, said: “This does seem lile it is aimed at businesses like ours.
“Our meet and greet service is very popular, but the airport seem to be doing all they can to stop it being a success.”
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