With a rise in the number of illegal parking around airports, there is heightened concern for the criminal activity taking place in these areas. As a result, there is a growing demand for secure, pre-bookable parking, and car park owners are reaping the benefits.
Drivers forced to illegally park with limited options for affordable parking
When heading on holiday, the last thing you want to be concerned about is where your car is, and if it is safe. However, these worries are becoming increasingly commonplace after holidaymakers returned home to find that their car was missing or had been damaged from illegal car parking schemes being operated in unmanned fields or other unsecured areas.
With a lack of affordable airport parking options through official channels available for passengers at Manchester Airport, people resorted to finding cheaper alternatives. This has been demonstrated around the corner at Moss Lane in Styal, which was found to be a hotspot for drivers leaving their vehicles without informing or communicating with the land owner. The risk drawn from this illegal activity extends to the individual with a case of one man reported to have been physically threatened. Despite this, drivers continue to engage in ‘rogue’ parking and Cheshire Police remain busy reprimanding people for using the cheapest option to save cash. The subsequent unsafe minibus travel to and from the airport raises the question of how far will drivers go to prioritise cheap parking over personal safety?
The soaring demand for airport parking
However, it’s not just Manchester, as airports around the country appear to be having similar problems. Gatwick has noted a 164% increase in complaints as a result of these unofficial meet-and-greet parking companies and Bristol airport has boasted their own horror stories. Demand for affordable parking is so high that people are finding illegal alternatives, such as muddy fields, which shows a lack of supply. Many people don’t want to pay for an extortionate airport parking space for the duration of their trip, and are willing to search for cheaper options, however there appears to be a lack of secure and reliable parking options.
With drop-off costs also increasing, family and friends, as well as taxi drivers, are incurring extra fines and unnecessary hassle by rushing to avoid further spending. Demonstrated at Birmingham Airport, there are fears of extended queues resulting in more charges, that are once again deterring customers from using airport car park facilities and seeking out more cost effective alternatives.
Car park owners are seemingly unaware of the revenue that could be generated from simply listing their car park available to pre-book. One example of this was the Holiday Inn Express Cardiff Airport Car Park, who experienced a 440% increase in revenue in the last six months with JustPark. Having more affordable, yet nearby pre-bookable parking spaces is useful for drivers, but will also greatly benefit the car park owners.
How airports maximise their profits through monopoly pricing
Cases of illegal parking, such as the one seen near Manchester Airport arise as the result of demand for economical parking exceeding supply. Car park owners are sitting on gold mines in the form of car parks near airports or central commuter hubs. There is an opportunity for significant revenue streams if car parks with underutilised parking spaces listed spaces to rent. Depending on the duration of travellers’ trips, car parks can attract short or long term renters, and airports are taking advantage of the lack of alternative parking options nearby. So much so that over six months in 2021, Manchester Airport Group (MAG) made over £40.2 million revenue from just car parking alone, over 25% of total airport revenue. It is more common than ever to see the price of parking exceeding the cost of the flight itself! Safe to say that airports have hit the jackpot here with a monopoly on parking.
If car park owners become aware of the need for competitive pricing, they can charge for their parking spaces, and help increase availability of affordable parking for drivers, while profiting at the same time.
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