Drivers picking up or dropping off passengers at Faro airport now have 10 minutes’ free parking at the curbside areas near the terminals – after that they will be charged. The new ‘Kiss & Fly’ system was implemented by national airport authority ANA on Wednesday (May 20) and will later in the year be in place at Porto airport and in 2016 in Lisbon.
This is to ensure, says ANA, that “the areas don’t become overcrowded”. Thus drivers have 10 minutes to say their hellos and goodbyes before a fee is charged – and they can only use the free parking scheme twice a day.
“If the driver uses the curbside areas a third time in 24 hours, there will be a charge,” the airport authority revealed on its website.
“The curbside at Faro Airport is currently affected by various operational restrictions” and there are “environmental considerations, largely caused by imbalances in types of access and misuse by private and business users outside ANA airport activity,” said the airport authority.
ANA says it’s all part of its plan to make the process “faster and more comfortable” for those using the airport’s terminals.
In fact, the ‘Kiss & Fly’ system is already used at a number of international airports, such as London-Heathrow.
When questioned about whether or not 10 minutes is enough time for pick-ups and drop-offs, ANA spokesperson Rui Oliveira was clear: “It’s more than enough. We aren’t inventing anything new. This system is already used in many European airports.”
Another concern voiced by taxi drivers was how the rules would be set for public transportation services.
According to ANA, public buses are exempt from paying any fees, as well as taxis dropping off passengers so long as they use the bus lane for departures. Taxis picking up passengers are also exempt from fees if they hold valid permits.
Tourism buses and hotel shuttles will continue to have their own reserved parking areas (parks P5 and P6 respectively), while car rental companies without premises at Faro Airport will use specially-designated parking spaces.
If all goes according to plan, says ANA, this system will be implemented at Porto Airport by the end of this year and at Lisbon Airport in early 2016.
ANA has been conducting a series of changes to its operations ever since the company was privatised and sold to French group Vinci in 2013.
Via Verde parking introduced
Meantime, a Via Verde parking scheme has been introduced at Faro Airport.
Drivers who have a Via Verde device in their car can now simply press the Via Verde button at the entrance of the airport.
When they leave, the parking fee will be automatically deducted from their bank account.
According to the electronic toll collection company, this system has also been implemented in 114 other car parks across Portugal.
By MICHAEL BRUXO