Picture by sourabhj
Each year, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission looks at the cost of airport parking as part of a broader investigation into how airports operate and whether they exploit their effective monopoly status. While the ACCC doesn't have the power to change those prices, its investigations do provide an interesting insight into how much you'll have to pay to visit an airport — an issue that's likely to arise whether you're a frequent traveller or someone who only goes to the airport to pick up visiting relatives.
When we looked at last year's data, one of the more surprising findings was that airport parking fees were not rising as rapidly as you might expect. How has that panned out in the most recent figures, which cover a period where airlines themselves struggled to make any money?
The answer turns out to be: it depends where you live. Here's the prices for 1 hour short-term and 24 hour long-term parking at each of the major domestic airports, with the same figure from last year in brackets.
- Sydney: 1 hour $15 ($14), 24 hours $25 ($24)
- Melbourne: 1 hour $12 ($12), 24 hours $25 ($25)
- Brisbane: 1 hour $10 ($10), 24 hours $25 ($25)
- Perth: 1 hour $5.40 ($5.20), 24 hours $ ($17)
- Adelaide: 1 hour $4 ($4), 24 hours $20 ($20)
Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane all remain the same on those figures, while Perth has had a small rise. Sydney stands out in this crowd — while a $1 rise isn't a massive amount, it represents part of an ongoing trend for those costs to go up. (Interestingly, despite that, Sydney actually scores less of its overall profits from parking than any of the airports surveyed.)
Of course, there are plenty of other options to minimise parking fees, especially if you're picking someone up or being picked up. Based on last year's comments, the most popular strategy is to lurk somewhere near the airport, wait for a call from the landing passenger, and then drive up to the departures drop-off area (which is generally a more straightforward option than dealing with the crush near arrivals).
Not planning to drive to the airport? Check out our guide to the cheapest public transport options for Australia's major airports.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman is keeping the roads safe by staying off them. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.