Airport parking: The first thing that comes to mind as people hear of airports is the flights. It makes sense, considering that is why these buildings were designed in the first place. However, the truth is that cars and trucks outnumber thousands of aircraft at every major airport in the world.
And just as the coronavirus pandemic has stopped, the way airports handle cars parking in their public and private lots has also changed dramatically. This isn’t a pretty picture. The positive news is that there are innovative ways for airports to re-imagine parking to reduce logistics headaches and drive new revenue streams.
Because rented cars are always picked up at airports, many are currently left idle. Before the COVID-19 interruption, roughly 70% of the typical airport car rental fleet was reserved. Thus no airport parking space was needed. When the disruption began, all of a sudden, these vehicles wanted a place to go. Airports have never been designed to accommodate the many parked.
This kind of creativity—born out of desperation—has given short-term remedies, but does not resolve the broader problem. When offices and retailers continue to open, parking lots owners may need to clear those spaces to serve staff and customers. This is a long-term crisis, not a transient blip, and airport managers cannot necessarily wish things to go back to normal.
Car rental firms are shrinking significantly and quickly in their fleet sizes. In comparison, traveller parking at airports would not be as it was any time soon. Notably, the traveller charged much more for their Airport Parking than any other commuter at the airport.
What is required is a bold re-imagination of how airports will monetize their parking garages. This means prioritizing versatility as a way to rebuild a modern parking model, as fewer people fly by air for business or recreation. The concept will grow for airports to sell their traveller airport parking spaces at a discounted price to car rental companies.