Britain’s airport parking rip-off revealed

Parking a light aircraft at one of the UK’s top ten airports is cheaper than parking a car for a day.

According to research by The Independent, British holidaymakers looking to leave their car at the airport would be better off parking a six-seater light aircraft, as it’s significantly cheaper.

An investigation into 24 hour parking rates at the UK’s top ten airports found that airports charge aircrafts by weight compared to cars where ‘one charge fits all’. Manchester airport, which is the biggest regional airport, charges £35 for 24 hours in the short stay car park and only £21 to park a Piper PA- 46 aircraft, which is a light weight plane at just under two tonnes. A 24 hour stay at Manchester Airport for the Airbus A380, which is one of the world’s largest aircraft, would set you back around £4,000. Heathrow Terminal 5 short stay car park offers the most expensive rates across the country, charging travellers a staggering £51.80 for 24 hours. This is more than the cost of an off-peak flight to Aberdeen.

The research, however, found that Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted do not routinely handle light aircraft. In some cases motorists are even charged to drop passengers off at the airport. Birmingham is just one of several that force drivers to pay £1 for stopping momentarily. Plane owners at this airport can park for two hours for free. Parking a car at Birmingham Airport for 24 hours costs drivers £22.50, compared to the smallest aircraft handled by the airport, a Cessna 150, which is just £5.40 for the day.

“These are incredible findings that sadly may not come as a surprise to drivers who often have to pay eye-watering sums for parking in an airport car park,” said Paul Watters, of the AA. “Drivers will probably look enviously at parked aircraft wondering just how it can be that motorists pay more when the space they are using is much less.” Holidaymakers could save money on travel costs by opting to drive to their location rather than fly and face extortionate parking fees. If hiring a vehicle, car hire insurance  is recommended.

Date Created: 03 July 2012

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