Page last updated at 19:55 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 20:55 UK

Airport to charge for trolley use


Passengers at Luton Airport said the plan to charge for trolleys was unfair

Luton Airport is to charge passengers to use its luggage trolleys.

It will be the first major airport in the UK to make people pay a 1 fee for a trolley when it introduces the fees on 26 July.

Passenger groups have criticised the move - saying it is just being done to make money.

But the airport defended the charge saying passengers would be getting "a better trolley service" with newer and better designed trolleys.

Gatwick and Stansted both charge for trolleys but when you put them back the money is refunded.

'More manageable'

At Norwich airport, trolleys are free but there's a controversial passenger tax, which will go up from 3 to 5 in September.

Luton Airport, the fifth biggest in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, is owned by Spanish group TBI. The luggage trolley scheme is being introduced in conjunction with German company Bagport.

Glyn Jones, managing director of Luton Airport, told BBC Look East: "We don't expect it to generate a great deal of revenue. This is about improving the quality of service."

He said the smaller Bristol Airport had already started charging for the use of trolleys.

A Luton Airport spokeswoman added: "Passengers will have to pay, but they will be getting a better trolley service. The supply of trolleys will be supervised and the trolleys are new, lighter and more manageable.

"We have taken a decision to bring in a better service and make people pay for it."

James Fremantle, a spokesman for the Air Transport Users Council, said: "This is a step too far.

"It's OK for airports to charge for certain services that some passengers use and some don't as this can lead to lower charges to airlines and result in lower fares for passengers.

"But charging for trolleys shows that Luton are obviously looking at ways of making money as the competition is very fierce at the moment."

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