There are many different types of airport parking and transport options. These options include short term, long term, off-airport, valet, car rental, ride-sharing and ride-hailing services. Congestion at airports is an increasing issue; as airports expand, there is a direct correlation between the size of the airport, the number of routes offered, passenger numbers and the amount of on-site traffic.
Parking fees are one of the key aspects of the airport business model, accounting for up to a quarter of total operating revenue. This business model is now impacted by a major shift in how passengers are traveling to and from the airport. Typically, airport run parking facilities are more expensive than alternative parking and transportation options. As a result, airports have adopted various strategies to make their parking facilities more attractive. These include, the use of dynamic pricing, loyalty schemes and reservations and pre-booking.
A few years ago, there was a revolution in how passengers were traveling with the introduction of ride-hailing, and even more recently, car sharing services. Understandably, airports were concerned about how these types of transportation would affect their revenue. To combat the possible drop in revenue, many airports imposed a fee for ride-hailing companies; a fee which is usually passed onto the customer as a surcharge. Thus, the success of these relatively cheaper transportation options means that airport revenue is not as negatively affected as first feared, although the impact on congestion has been significant.
For many airports, whose aim is to provide passengers with a seamless customer journey whilst balancing their revenue streams, the problem of curb-side traffic is one that is ever increasing. Solutions such as wayfinding, parking guidance and digital payments mean that airport parking itself has become a much smoother process. Some airports have taken the decision to close main terminal curbs so that pick up and drop off, whether by an individual, cab or ride-hailing service, can now only be done from another location. Usually these locations are repurposed parking facilities.
What Could the Future Look Like?
What else can airports do to repurpose unused parking facilities? Many airports have already begun to tackle this issue by becoming intermodal transportation hubs. It is not uncommon to find a train station located within an airport terminal so passengers can have easy access to and from the airport or off-site auto rental serivices serviced by shuttle buses. Future plans may even include the adoption of hyperloops, which according to Elon Musk will be “safer, faster, lower cost, more convenient, immune to weather, sustainable and self-powering, resistant to earthquakes and not disruptive”. Pitched as more sustainable than aviation and significantly faster than high-speed trains, only the future will tell whether hyperloops become a reality. In the meantime, it is clear that congestion issues at airports will continue to require management and that there is plenty of choice for even the most demanding customer.
Our upcoming Airport Parking Network Event (APNE) 2019 from November 17th-19th will bring together the key decision makers from airports as well as our expert parking solution providers. Our event allows for airports parking managers to discuss the issues they face with their parking facilities and to connect with the best in the parking industry to find tailored solutions. After 10 years of hosting this one-of-a-kind event, we believe APNE is the biggest, and most unique, event of its kind. Join us at London Heathrow to see how they manage their parking operations and learn how you can maximise your own airport parking facility.