The competition watchdog has been given a watching brief to ensure airport operators don’t gouge travellers by charging exorbitant parking fees.
Airport operators derive many millions of dollars in revenue from their monopoly over airport carparks, with Sydney Airport earning $70 million and Melbourne Airport $68 million – 18% of its total revenue – from parking fees in 2006-07.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday announced that he has asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to monitor parking revenues to ensure airport operators weren’t unfairly exploiting travellers and their families.
“I recognise there are genuine public concerns about airports using their monopoly position to exert significant market power and charge higher prices for the various periods of stay – particularly short term drop off and pick up of passengers,” Albanese says.
The move to monitor airport parking was triggered by data showing that parking revenues have increased by 77% since 2002, while passenger numbers increased by just 41% over the same period.
Sydney Airport has released a statement defending its parking charges, pointing to a Productivity Commission review that found they were reasonable and in some cases lower than parking charges in the CBD.