Family firm says airport change will cost them thousands

John Davies with colleagues Donna Burns and Colin Smith at J&K Travel on the Wirral
-Credit: (Image: Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo)

A small Wirral family business has slammed Liverpool John Lennon Airport after it increased charges overnight.

J+K Travel Limited run by John Davies regularly takes families, including people with special needs as well as elderl, and disabled people to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and has been doing so since the company was set up in 2017. John told the ECHO that up until June 1, he was able to drop people off for free close to the airport’s entrance with only a £5 pick-up charge.

However at the end of May, he found out at the last minute that this was changing to a minimum £20 for both drop-off and pick-up, meaning he would have to spend at least £40 in total to park where he had before. He thinks this could cost him thousands of pounds more per year and he already has 40 bookings already locked in over the next 12 months.

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He said it felt like the airport was forcing them out and questioned how this was environmentally friendly, adding: "It's ridiculous. They haven't got a leg to stand on."

While he said he understood there may need to be some increase due to rising cost of living, he said no new facilities were being provided to drivers so he didsn't see the justification for this much of an increase.

Mr Davies said no reasoning had been offered by the airport for the change with no consultation, adding: "I would be more than happy to negotiate about an increase but that increase is just unmanageable with the business."

John Davies said the move was ridiculous
John Davies said the move was ridiculous -Credit:Colin Lane/Liverpool Echo

The airport has offered Mr Davies the option of using the airport’s Drop Off Two location but this is located away from the airport entrance and he believes this isn’t workable for his passengers, some of whom have mobility issues.

J+K Travel have since raised the issue with Angela Eagle, who is running for re-election as Labour’s candidate for Wallasey in the upcoming general election. She said: “J&K Travel are a popular and successful local business who provide a range of services – including journeys to and from nearby airports.

“I have been in touch with Mr Davies for some time, first starting when he initially shared his concerns with me regarding increasing charges for drop off and pick up back in 2022, at which time I raised his concerns with the airport directly.

“I am disappointed to see additional raises coming into place, and am aware of the worrying impact they are having on businesses like Mr Davies’. I’ve written again to Liverpool John Lennon on this issue, and hope they will consider further the impact of hikes like these on businesses and regular users of the airport.”

An airport spokesperson said: “Charges for large minibuses and coaches to use the area located opposite the front of the terminal building have not changed for many years. Like many businesses the airport has incurred various significant cost increases in recent years and it is therefore necessary to amend certain charges incurred by airport users in order to help offset our own cost increases. These charges are comparable with those at other airports.

“Minibuses with up to 16 seats have a choice of using either the free pick up and drop of area with no charge for stays of up to 40 minutes which are a 7-8 minute walk to the terminal via a safe pedestrian route including pedestrian crossings, or using an area in the long stay car park adjacent to the multi-storey car park and a short walk over to the terminal costing £10 for up to an hour.

“We recognise the need to provide closer access to the terminal building for passengers arriving by minibus who are registered disabled and following Mr Davies’ comments we have amended our procedures so that all sizes of minibus can pre-book to access the front of the terminal and subsequently claim back part of the charge so that they pay the same fee as would be incurred for minibuses using the long stay car park. They will simply need to show the blue badge belonging to their passenger with a copy of the same passenger’s flight boarding card in order to claim back part of their parking charge.”]

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