By Owen Ryan
CAR parking charges at airports can be a real nuisance of a cost, particularly as the effects are only felt after returning, but Shannon is about to take steps to take some of the sting out of it for its customers.
At the Shannon Chamber business breakfast in Dromoland on Wednesday morning Airport CEO Neil Pakey said he was planning to take a leaf out of the book of Ryanair Deputy Chief Executive Michael Cawley, who was addressing the attendance. “In line with Michael’s model we’re going to be introducing a Park for Less Car Park not far from the airport, which will be cheaper than the present car parking charges.”
He said the airport are responding to what people have told them and they’re hoping for a good response once it opens. “It’s one reason someone might traipse across the country to get to another airport. We’re reflecting on it and we’re going to launch it in the next couple of weeks.”
Mr Pakey, who was appointed last May after having had spectacular success at Liverpool Airport, said that he wants to provide different offerings. “The reason we’re looking at it is clearly one of price, we want to be offering different products at different prices.”
Regarding the new car parks location he said; “It’ll be a bit further than the one outside the front door but walk-able. There’s an opportunity for a market there and it fits with the airlines in terms of helping to fill the seats.”
Asked how much cheaper parking will become, he said; “We’ll be issuing prices in a couple of weeks time and launching it then and hopefully the market will respond to it positively.”
At the moment the long-term car park at Shannon has a charge of €9.50 per 24-hour period or part thereof. There is also a special weekly rate of €47.50.
In the short term car park there is no charge for the first quarter of an hour. For 15 minutes to an hour the charge is €3, it goes to €6 for between one and two hours, its €8 for two to three hours, €10 for three to five hours, €14 for five to 12 hours and €19 for 12 to 24 hours.
Shannon Airport has more autonomy since leaving the auspices of the Dublin Airport Authority and has more latitude to compete on costs with the other State airports.
One of the most stark illustrations of the decline at Shannon over the past few years have been the huge number of empty parking spaces at the airport. However with a number of new services to Europe set to start in the coming weeks, and with increased transatlantic services also due to commence things are about to get busier, with 2014 set to be a much busier year for the Clare airport, while making parking more competitive can only help.