The recent announcement by AENA, which manages Málaga airport, that it was closing the free drop-off zone to car hire and pick-up companies has caused something of a furore amongst these businesses that operate at the airport. The directors of companies affected by the new ban have told the press, “Forbidding their vehicles to park outside the Terminal 3 building has created a ‘giant mess’ that will only ‘increase congestion’.” This move by the airport authorities also affects private vehicles dropping off passengers at Departures. Until the ban is lifted, private vehicles, alongside the car hire and minibus companies, will be able to use the 300 spaces allotted for this purpose in the airport’s car park. These spaces may be used for 15 minutes free of charge. However, drivers who overstay the quarter of an hour period will be charged the standard parking tariff. AENA, in its statement, said that the closure was intended to tackle the problem of traffic jams caused by ongoing works around the zone. Aeca and Aesva, the two major car hire and minibus associations, have been meeting with AENA to discuss the issue and find a resolution. The problem for the businesses affected is not just one of convenience, there is a financial downside to it as well. Félix Pinar, president of Aeca, warned that some of his members could face bankruptcy. As he pointed out, “It is impossible for them to wait only 15 minutes, especially when picking up multiple passengers.” He also added that there aren’t sufficient spaces in the express parking zone, which is the most expensive of the airport’s car parks, and that the new regulations are increasing congestion rather than easing it. Helle Hollis, one of the larger firms operating at the airport, also fears that it will negatively affect its business. A representative said that its customers now had to walk several hundred metres to reach the terminal and it is concerned that when the peak season arrives, the confusion and chaos will grow. We hope that this is just a temporary issue, but until it is resolved, please be aware that if you are driving friends or family to the airport, you will now have to use the specially demarcated spaces in the airport car park and leave before the complimentary 15 minutes are up if you don’t want to pay parking charges.
Drop-Off Zone Closed at Málaga Airport