Airports not ripping you off: report

When travellers fork out as much for airport parking as they do for their flights, something is wrong.

Not so, says the Productivity Commission (PC), which has decreed that airports are not ripping off travellers with high car parking prices.

No, according to the PC, Australian airports are perfectly justified charging $20 per hour for parking, and they’re not using their market powers to price gouge customers.

“Car parking charges are not due to airports exercising their market power – the price of parking at-terminal can largely be explained by the value passengers place on convenience, the limited amount of land close to the terminal, and the need to manage congestion,” says the PC report.

In other words, airport parking is convenient, so you have to pay a high price for it.

In all fairness, the PC, in its wisdom, does share some tips to save on airport parking.

“There are many ways for people to access the airport precinct, such as taxi, Uber, off-airport car parks and public transport and, while they are not perfectly substitutable for those wishing to park at the terminal, they do constrain the ability of airport operators to increase prices significantly,” it says.

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Professor Graeme Samuel expressed his incredulity at the report.

“They’ve said, ‘Oh, it’s convenient to park at Melbourne Airport. That’s why the charges are high’,” he said.

“Well, it is equally convenient to park at the Alfred Hospital, but the charges there are half of those that are charged by Melbourne Airport.

“Similar things occur with Sydney Airport and the like. It is a nonsense and frankly their analysis is very, very poor.”

The Productivity Commission report opposed findings by the ACCC and IATA, which said Aussie airports need to revisit their parking fees.

Do you think you pay too much for airport parking?

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