A FURIOUS customer has hit back at Newcastle Airport after arriving to find the free car parking area was closed, despite information on its website suggesting otherwise.

Dr Jeff Martin slammed the airport for providing "out-of-date" information as he criticised a compulsory £6 charge for a drop-off which lasted less than 15 minutes.

Dr Martin, who accused the airport of having a "monopoly" on prices, also raised concerns over the times actually allowed for drop-off during the pandemic.

The airport has since responded apologising for any inconvenience caused, while saying the free parking area has been reopened.

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Speaking to The Northern Echo, Dr Martin described his shock when he arrived to find the airport's 'Short Stay 2' had been closed, despite information published on its website.

Under the airport's 'Covid-19 - ten point plan' which details what measures are in place, it said customers would be given 15 minutes free at the Short Stay car park. 

But arriving last Saturday (May 22) to drop his wife off for a flight to Schiphol in Amsterdam, he was instead forced to use the airport's 'Short Stay 1,' at a cost of £6. 

He said: "We researched this before we went and looked at the Covid ten point plan, you think it would have been updated.

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"I emailed them with that and their response made no attempt to apologise, they just said 'no we've got it on our website'."

According to Newcastle Airport, the car park was closed due to decreased levels of demand caused by restrictions on travel. 

However Dr Martin said he believes the airport, which he already said was "expensive," should have retained its free parking facility.

He said: "They do have a monopoly when it comes to parking, if you are offering free parking as part of your service, then why are you not offering it elsewhere.

"There was space, the place was virtually empty."

Raising concern over the current time permitted for the £6 charge, he said the airport had not taken into account delays at check-in due to extra Covid measures.

He said: "It's not just a case of dropping people off anymore, there were only ten people checking, but it takes several more minutes each because of all the checks.

"So what's going to happen if you're not straight through, what if you're going to be more than 15 minutes in drop-off - they need to change the time of parking for the cost."

It comes as last year the airport was accused of "daylight robbery" after the cost of parking at its Express Car Park were increased. 

Read more: Newcastle Airport slammed for 'daylight robbery' as car park prices go up 

At the time, customers criticised the reviewed charge of £3 for ten minutes, which had been increased from £2 for the same period. 

In response to the latest concerns, Newcastle Airport said it had amended information on its website to make the rules more clear, while apologising for any incovenience caused.

A spokesperson said: "We welcome the feedback from Mr Martin and we have since amended some information on our website to provide greater clarity. We are in dialogue with Mr Martin regarding the points raised.

"Due to decreased demand the Airport's car parking provision was reduced. With the easing of travel restrictions and an increase in passengers using the Airport, several car parks will be reopened on Tuesday - including Short Stay 2 which will provide free parking for up to 15 minutes.

"Once again we apologise for any inconvenience caused to Mr Martin and look forward to welcoming him back to the Airport again soon."​