The boss of Luton airport today defending charges imposed on users to drop off and meet passengers.

Chief executive Nick Barton appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

The fee for the closest drop-off zone at the airport is £3 for 10 minutes and £1 a minute after that.

Barton said: “We charge [to be right by the terminal] because it is a scarce resource.

“We have a very tight site and are built on top of a hill. We do have two alternatives for free drop-off. It’s just that those who want to be right next to the entrance of the terminal – there is a charge for it to try to regulate what is a scarce resource.

“If we didn’t do that it would be completely full of all sorts of people waiting for several hours even, waiting for passengers to turn up, and we would cease to function as an airport.”

He added that the end of the building work at the airport was in sight: “We have been a building site for nearly three years but by next spring the work will be nearly completed.”