Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) has announced new concessions and exemptions for travellers affected by airport car parking charges being introduced at its airports in Stornoway, Shetland and Orkney.
The airports will join Inverness and Dundee airports, where charges are already in place, when the rules change on July 1.
HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon, said: “We have met and consulted with a range of stakeholders since we announced our intention to charge for parking in March, and from the outset of those discussions we were keen to listen to the views of the communities involved and reflect their views in the way the charges were implemented.
“A survey of more than 500 airport users, as part of a consultation process, has recently been completed and that has delivered considered and valuable feedback.
“As a result we have broadened the range of concessions and exemptions to better mitigate the implementation of car parking charges on those directly affected.”
HIAL will work with the relevant NHS Trusts to offer an efficient means of ensuring patients can obtain free parking when travelling by air to and from appointments.
HIAL will complement a compassionate travel policy already used by Loganair with free parking for passengers travelling under the terms of this policy.
Free parking will be made available at Sumburgh and Orkney airports for the use of inter-island travellers. Inter-island residents can apply to the relevant airport to register one vehicle per household as part of the scheme.
Blue Badge Holders will be able to park free of charge. The scheme will be reviewed after 12 months.
Extension of the drop off/pick up period from one to two hours to take into account a reasonable period to mitigate any flight delays.
Mr Lyon said: “Clearly, if given a preference, most people would not wish to pay for a service that had previously been provided for free. However, there remains an urgent need to raise the revenue required to reinvest in maintaining viable air services for our island communities.
“We believe a fair and proportionate parking charge for airport users is one means of maintaining the necessary investment.”