Airport parking prices

On first glance it would appear to many that the cost of airport parking has been steadily rising and as is often reported it can be very expensive at peak times. Interestingly the average price change across all the airports was just 2.7% which compares favourably to average train fare rises which have increased by 3.4% since 2017. As well as explaining the costs behind the price of airport parking, we will highlight some great tips on how to get the best value at a competitive price below.

As would be expected with the rates of inflation experienced in the last few years, the cost of providing an airport parking service have risen. Examples would be the wages of the drivers, the purchase and maintenance of company vehicles, insurance and, as the British Business Bank explains, the prices of fuel and energy have also increased.

The market for airport parking is also one of the most competitive, with the airports looking to maximise their assets, the independent operators looking to provide the best service to their customers and a few consolidators who are trying to dominate the market. This dynamic characteristic means that the cost of marketing, both online and offline, is relatively high.

So when pricing their airport parking services the operators have to look at the costs of the service and then factor in a small percentage for profit and ongoing investment into their physical compounds and online systems. As with all travel products, there is the added complication of seasonality, when during popular holiday and travel periods, demand can easily outstrip supply and negatively impact on customer service.

To explain this in more detail, one of the variables is the amount of drivers required at given time. If there are too few drivers for an airport parking company, the customers have to wait longer, the forecourts become congested and the experience is not optimum. If there are too many drivers, the airport company is paying drivers to do nothing. Striking the correct balance with this can only be achieved by an established company with years of experience.

So at busier times the airport parking company is employing more drivers and as a consequence the price can be higher, with the increases becoming steeper as the date of departure approaches. You may even see car parks closed due to being full a few days prior to national holidays.

Into the mix you can add the so-called “cowboy” operators who use land with no Park Mark accreditations. With no significant investment in their compounds to recoup and bare minimum operating overheads, these operators just want to fill their fields and they pitch their prices artificially low, potentially disrupting the market. Unfortunately many customers are seduced by the low price and do not bother to do the most basic of checks. Which is why every year there are horror stories of cars being abandoned in muddy fields, parked on public roads, used as hire cars and in the very worst cases, never being returned.

So what practical advice can we, as an airport parking operator, give the consumer who wants to get the best service at the best price?

Firstly do your research by using Google to look up the websites of the parking provider. Even if you do look at a consolidator, you should do some checks on the provider themselves: do they have Park Mark, what are their reviews like and do they offer a better deal by booking directly?

Secondly when doing your research sign up for the promotional emails – these often give substantial discounts and promotional codes which can be used throughout the year.

Finally book as early as you can. Remember we explained that supply shrinks as the demand rises and prices will rise.

We hope you found this article interesting. Please let us know if we can explain any aspect of airport parking by emailing

By Stephen Forster at 1 Feb 2024

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