EDINBURGH Airport has been accused of "savage profiteering" after deciding to triple the price at its drop-off zone.

Critics have criticised the airport's owners after it was revealed it will raise the cost of the 10-minute drop-off area from £1 to £3. The current £1 charge will only apply if drivers are able to enter and exit the zone within five minutes.

The airport, owned by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), is due to introduce the price changes on Monday.

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A spokesman for GIP confirmed it was introducing a new charge structure of £1 for five minutes and £3 for 10 minutes.

The airport also has a £5 charge for 15 minutes.

A spokesman for the AA said: "I think tripling the price is pretty serious. It is pretty savage to be honest. It's pure greed and profiteering. It is beyond all the realms of reason. They are taking advantage of people's generosity to give someone a lift or pick them up from the airport. It will also lead to dangers as people will be trying to evade it."

Tony Kenmuir, director of Central Taxis, one of Edinburgh's largest taxi firms, said: "Very few vehicles are likely to make it through this process in less than five minutes in our opinion.

"It means elderly passengers will be penalised for the extra time it takes them to disembark from a vehicle, and for many journeys it would not be economically viable for taxis to drop people off at the airport."

Richard Townsend, head of retail and property at the airport, said: "These changes are necessary to make sure that as our airport continues to grow, we offer our customers a convenient, efficient pick-up and drop-off experience.

"A free drop-off zone will still be available, but the one million vehicles which use the drop-off area on a yearly basis show that people still want to use this facility."