The British Isles are home to over 6,000 islands, with various commercial airports serving the archipelago’s two constituent sovereign states: the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. These facilities come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, but did you know that some have airport development fees?


One facility to have such a charge is Norwich Airport (NWI), in the east of England. According to the Eastern Daily Press, this was introduced in 2007, when all departing passengers had to pay £5 to use the airport. This is equivalent to £8.20 ($9.38) in today’s money. The fee has since undergone certain changes.

2011 saw the charge double, with departing passengers having to pay £10 ($11.44) to use the airport ever since. However, this also removed the need for the fee to be paid for passengers under the age of 16. According to Norwich Airport’s website, the fee supports “further development of the airport’s infrastructure and passenger facilities, and [maintains] and [develops] the airport’s route network.”

Departing passengers can pay Norwich Airport’s development fee by cash or card at machines located landside. This produces a receipt with a barcode, which they can then scan to allow access to security and departures. In the instance that a departing flight is canceled, those who have already paid will be refunded.

Norwich Airport Empty Departure Lounge

Photo: Jake Hardiman | Simple Flying

Ireland West

Over in the Republic of Ireland, Ireland West Airport (NOC) in County Mayo also charges a similar fee. This applies to all departing passengers aged 12 and above, and costs €10 ($10) per person. The airport explains that:

“This is a service charge which the airport charges for the use of its facilities, and as a contribution toward infrastructure developments, including passenger and airline services, ongoing maintenance and operation of this airport. The services include terminal facilities, safety and security, airline services such as air traffic control, navigational aids, runway systems, aircraft parking, and fire services.”

The facility, whose name previously included a reference to the nearby village of Knock, has worked with its resident airline and tour operators to ensure that departing passengers are aware of their obligation to pay the development fee. Like at Norwich, the money is taken by cash or card before passengers enter security.

Ireland West Airport Terminal Building

Photo: Ireland West Airport

Some airports have axed such fees

In years gone by, other airports in the British Isles have also charged development fees to departing passengers. One such facility was Cornwall Airport Newquay (NQY), which, according to the BBC, charged departing passengers aged 16 and over £5 each between 2006 and 2016. The airport’s decision to remove this fee prompted Ryanair, which had left in 2011, to serve Newquay again.

More recently, Business Traveller reported a similar move by Teesside Airport (MME). The facility had brought in a £6 fee for departing passengers in 2010, but removed this last year. This coincided with the launch of a new route to Corfu (CFU) operated by Ryanair, a carrier that has been outspoken in its opposition to such fees.

Did you know about the British Isles’ various airport development fees? have you ever used an airport with such an obligation? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Sources: BBC, Business Traveller, Eastern Daily Press, Ireland West Airport, Norwich Airport


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