SQUEEZED - AN ANALYSIS OF CAR PARKING PRICES AT AUCKLAND AIRPORT
BY ADAM BARKER
AUCKLAND AIRPORT'S CAR PARK PRICES SHOULD BE REGUALTATED
Travellers flying for short trips from Auckland Airport get a rough deal on car parking. Auckland Airport has made the most of an effective monopoly to jack prices steady for over a decade. Consequently, car parking at the domestic terminal is now some of the most expensive in the region.
Any driver who values their time, or whose employer values their time, at more than around $20 per hour has effectively only one choice when parking for a day for a domestic flight. The time to catch shuttles to and from satellite carparks gives carparks beside the terminal a compelling advantage. As the only operator of such carparks, Auckland Airport has a near-monopoly for this segment of travellers. That matters as short-term travellers comprise a significant fraction of all airport traffic.
A consequence of this near-monopoly is that the cost to park at the airport is higher than the average cost to cark for a day in the CBD, and considerably more than the cost to park in similar ‘facilities’ car parks such as those for Auckland’s hospitals. The gap is even greater when ‘earlybird’ parking rates are compared. Wellington and Christchurch airports also put the squeeze on their travellers but not to quite the same extent.
Today’s pricing follows a series of increases stretching over a decade. Since 2003 (when Scarlatti’s records start) the price to park beside Auckland’s domestic terminal has increased from $16 to $40 per day – a 2.5x increase. Over the same time the consumer Price Index has increased by only 27%.
Scarlatti doesn’t have a gripe with Auckland Airport about any of this. As a publicly listed company, Auckland Airport should seek to maximize returns for shareholders and they appear to be making the most of their situation to do just that. However, there is a case for the Commerce Commission to acknowledge that the market for car parking at Auckland Airport, and other New Zealand airports, is not properly competitive and act to regulate accordingly.
THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACE TO PARK IN AUCKLAND
CAR PARK PRICE INFLATION RUNS AT 4X CPI IN MANGERE, AUCKLAND