Faro Airport’s new Kiss & Fly drop-off system denounced as “extortion racket”

National airport authority ANA is in the hot seat for its new ‘Kiss & Fly’ drop-off system which has been compared to an “extortion racket” by Portugal’s Communist Party (PCP).

ANA has just weathered bad press for sacking staff who had previously gone on strike.

Opponents claimed the airport authority was warning others that anyone who stepped out of line could lose their jobs.

Now, the “Kiss & Fly” system is under fire for the implications it has on airport transfer companies, which have to pay “exorbitant prices” if they use it more than twice a day, say the PCP.

As explained in our previous story (‘New access system at Faro Airport gives drivers 10 minutes free parking’), the idea of the system is to allow people dropping off passengers time to say their goodbyes and leave the complex without having to incur car park charges.

Anyone who uses the system on a commercial basis has to pay after the third drop-off.

Prices range from €3.50 to €63.50 if they use the system seven times a day.

After that, each additional pick-up or drop-off costs €15.

“Most airport transfer companies cannot afford the costs of these new rules,” the PCP explains, stressing: “Not only does this jeopardize companies’ survival and thousands of jobs, the new rules also affect regional tourism.”

The only alternative, says the PCP, is for companies to obtain a licence – costing €270 per year – which provides access to the airport’s parking lot but not the departures or arrivals terminals.

The PCP adds however that the licences are “limited and insufficient” for all transfer companies.

Parking outside the airport is also “not an option”, the party explains.

Stopping near the airport to pick up or drop off passengers is “not permitted” and police patrol regularly in their cars to make sure no-one tries to break the rules.

PCP’s parliamentary group has already questioned the Ministry of Economy about the “consequences” of ANA’s privatisation, and whether or not it will do something to stop ANA from “using its monopolistic position to crush the airport transfer companies” that work at Faro Airport.

The new ‘Kiss & Fly’ system was implemented on May 20.

If all goes according to plan, it will be in place later in the year at Porto airport and in 2016 in Lisbon.