DROP-OFF charges at Edinburgh airport are to triple to £3 for a ten-minute stay.
Airport users and passengers have criticised the move after the airport’s owner announced that it is to raise the cost of a drop-off from £1.
At present, drivers have up to ten minutes to drop passengers off for a £1 fee but, under the new charges, that amount of money will only give them five minutes.
Labelled a “kiss and fly tax”, the move will mean drivers are forced to pay at least £3 if they take longer than five minutes to deliver passengers to the terminal.
A spokesman for airport owner Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) has confirmed that the new pricing structure will come into effect on Monday.
Taxi drivers have warned the extra cost could discourage them from accepting airport fares, while it is thought that elderly and infirm travellers will be hardest hit by fees that were branded “outrageous” when first introduced four years ago.
However, airport chiefs insist only a small number of passengers will be affected by the adjustment that, they say, is designed to reduce congestion.
Tony Kenmuir, director of Central Taxis, said: “Very few vehicles are likely to make it through this process in less than five minutes, in our opinion.
“We would strongly object on the grounds that it can take several minutes to drop off due to queues. Traffic has to wait at a pedestrian crossing after paying the entrance fee.
“That’s a recipe for the average drop-off fee increasing.”
He added: “It means elderly passengers will be penalised for the extra time it takes them to disembark a vehicle and, for many journeys, it would not be economically viable for taxis to drop people off at the airport.”
Disabled drivers holding a blue badge will be unaffected by the changes and will continue to be able to use the drop-off zone for up to ten minutes for free.
Fees at the pick-up area, which start at £2.90 for 15 minutes, will remain unchanged.
Passengers can also use a free drop-off area further from the terminal building which is served by a shuttle bus.
Lothians MSP Gavin Brown said it would be “unfair” to charge elderly and disabled people more because they “might take just a bit longer”.
Airport chiefs stressed that 87 per cent of passengers spent less than five minutes in the drop-off area, according to a study last month, with an average waiting time of three-and-a-half minutes.
Richard Townsend, head of retail and property at the airport, said: “These changes are necessary to make sure that, as our airport continues to grow, we offer our customers a convenient, efficient pick-up and drop-off experience.
“A free drop-off zone will still be available but the one million vehicles which use the drop-off area on a yearly basis show that people still want to use this facility.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the AA accused GIP of “pure greed and profiteering.” The spokesman added: “I think tripling the price is pretty serious.
“They are taking advantage of people’s generosity to give someone a lift or pick them up from the airport.
“It will also lead to dangers as people will be trying to evade it. It’s not going encourage good behaviour.”