HOLIDAYMAKERS looking to get away during February half term have been left disappointed after an airport admitted its free parking scheme is not valid for that week.

At the turn of the year, bosses at Southend Airport announced they were offering free parking for the first two months of the year - but have admitted this does not apply during one of the peak weekends in that period.

A resident told the Echo she had tried to book a space during half term - which runs from February 18 to 22 - but was surprised when she was told she would have to fork over £40.

The airport’s managing director Alastair Welch said: "Like special deals offered by all types of businesses, certain terms and conditions apply for a number of reasons.

“With our free parking offer we needed to ensure there is always space available for our passengers and we need to make sure we continue to have space available for customers who choose to fly through the airport at half term.”

Airport chiefs have said that since announcing the deal, more than 500 bookings have been made in little over two weeks as people clamour to take advantage of the free passes, which apply to the 500-space Long Stay Car Park 2.

The offer, which waives the £10 a-day charge, was made to celebrate a successful first year for the terminal.

Almost one million people flew from Southend last year.

The terminal offers some of the cheapest airport parking in the country, with daily long stay parking £7.90 less than Heathrow and £30 less than London City.

Mr Welch added: “At London Southend Airport we work very hard to ensure we offer unrivalled choice and value for our customers.

“Our car parking prices are still amongst the lowest of all the London airports and we have plenty of space, free set down and pick up, a choice of short and long stay and great offers, such as our free parking offer for January and February 2013."

For more information on dates the deal is valid for, or to book, visit