Airport Parking Fees Are Rising

Difficult times for airlines haven't necessarily been reflected in airport parking rates -- especially if you live in Sydney.

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.

ACCC issues annual report on airport performance [ACCC]

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.


    Preposterous! They aren't rising because they are ridiculously gargantuan enough already. $14 for an hour to park in Sydney airport, totally ridiculous!!!

    Of course its a monopoly, and the ACCC is yet again powerless to stop it, or doesn't want to bother with the battle.

    Even the train from Airport to Parramatta is stupidly high, they are milking it till their heart is contempt. Not much saving taking the car to taking public transport.

    Ahhhh - airports! The only thing they don't charge for is the air, but they're working on it!!!

    They have a monopoly on parking.... what else would you expect them to do?

    I heard on the radio a few days back that Tullarmarine Airport in Melbourne, 20% of the airports profit came from just parking alone. Pretty high in my opinion.

    In Sydney, rather than parking short term for the domestic airport - go down the road, buy a coffee or something and stop in the car park for McDonalds or Krispe Kreme. I have to pick people up from the airport and I think this is a much better solution than parking in the short term parking.

    Instead of the Airport Line train, catch a train to Rockdale or Banksia Stations and then catch the Route 400 Bus to either terminal. The bus stops outside both stations and it quicker than riding the bus the full route. All up it costs about $5.

    We should share our secrets re avoiding parking fees when we pick people up from airports.

    I'm from Melbourne and the way I do it is firstly by checking the airport's website ( to know precisely when the plane will land.

    I then try to find a park at Maccas while waiting for a call from the person whom I'm picking up to tell me that he/she has landed.


    The airports are in a position to set higher car parking prices, which would result in the persistence of higher profits over time, because they are able to influence the costs for alternatives to on-airport car parking (including off-airport car parking, cars, taxis, buses and train services).

    mr-crash I agree! Going to a nearby cafe definitely beats most airport parking around. Although there are a few good private parking areas to watch out for - like - they're pretty decent and secure, and have shuttle services too! I've used these guys for when it's been a longer stay..

      This is a sample piece of text for airport parking in sydney

    Yeah I agree with Anthony, offsite parking is the best way to get back at the greedy airports. I've used Alpha Airport Parking in Brisbane but they also have a place in Melbourne too apparently

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