Dear Essential Travel.co.uk,
I went on holiday in May 2007 and splashed out for on site airport parking. While booking my holiday this year, I saw the same parking for £10 less than the price I paid almost four years ago. These days everything else is getting more expensive, why is airport parking getting cheaper? Haley Fletcher, Brighton
Stuart Bensusuan, Essential Travel.co.uk's insurance specialist replies:
Thank you for the question. People out there might have noticed that the prices for airport parking have not just plateaued since 2007, they have actually dropped. This is due to a combination of factors.
The economic recession has impacted the travel industry in many ways. The drop in airport parking prices is just a symptom of its overall affect. In 2007, the travel industry was doing extremely well and air passenger numbers were at their peak: the economy was strong and people had extra £££s to go on holiday. After the recession hit this changed considerably.
The employment rate plummeted and people became hard-pressed to part ways with their extra/saved money. Travel budgets were amongst the first cuts made and outbound tourism from the UK took a dive. Other factors hit the industry at the same time, doubling the impact. There was a string of natural disasters, like the volcanic ash cloud over Iceland, a terrible outbreak of swine flu, and several tsunamis and earthquakes. The psychological effect these disasters had on travellers was tangible.
Not every airport has reacted to the dropping passenger numbers in the same way but many have dropped the price of their parking to encourage people to use their facilities and travel again. This is largely because, in many cases, car parking generates more income than the landing charges airports levy on the airlines using their runways.
So How Much Have Prices Changed?
There has been a considerable drop in parking prices - especially when you take inflation into account.
The following stats are based on the cost for a full travel week - eight days and seven nights:
2007: Heathrow Airport: £84.24
2010: Heathrow Airport: £75.00
2009: Manchester Airport: £39.99
2010: Manchester Airport: £29.99
On average, car park prices have reduced by 13% since 2009.
Looking On The Bright Side
With the decline in people taking holidays, hotel revenue has also dropped - especially for those close to the airport that previously serviced business travellers. The positive side to all this is that hotel car parks are now getting competitive about offering parking deals as a way of generating income.
You'll even find that sometimes an airport hotel and parking package is cheaper than an airport parking on its own. Great deals are out there and not hard to find when looking online.
Adaptation For Survival
The travel industry has had to adjust its footing to survive in the current economic climate. Like the 'No Frills' airlines that sprouted during a time when things were at their tightest, car parks have taken a similar approach. Rather than charging a premium for the service, parking vendors are yielding the prices to a greater extent than ever before.
Even if you don't usually take your car to the airport, it's certainly worth checking out the price of parking for your next trip. You might be pleasantly surprised at how cost effective parking can now be.
- Book out of peak season when possible
- Book online, as far in advance as possible, for the best deals available
Ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. Try generating a quote here at our airport parking page to see how low the prices have become at 26 UK airports.
I hope this helps! Good luck, Haley. Stuart
Last Updated: February 2011