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Cost of parking on airport down

The owners of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Southampton airport have covered the business pages this week.

The British Airport Authority (BAA) are accused by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) of uncompetitive behaviour which is not in the consumer's interest.

It is our mission at Holiday Extras to offer the best service, prices and products to our customers. We believe the BAA parking products meet this criteria as do our customers.

Based on 400 thousand parking bookings over the last 12 months the price for parking on airport with BAA has gone down 8% as have the number of complaints which were already very low...

Source 400,000 bookings through Holiday Extras between Oct 2005 and 2006

Contrary to the article in the - Our figures do not support the reported BAA parking charges - at Heathrow the average on airport long term/weekly parking charges have actually reduced overall this year coming in at £54.91 for 8 days parking as compared to £56.27 in 2005.

The highest price rise for long term airport parking has been at Southampton airport - where parking charges have risen by 24% over the last year.

Prices for Stansted airport Long Stay parking have actually fallen by 22% this year!

BAA was privatised in 1987 and this summer Ferrovial, the Spanish construction group, bought BAA for £10.1bn. The company manages Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and four other British airports.

BAA airports handle 90% of airline passenger traffic in the South-East. In Scotland BAA owns Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports, which handle 80% of airline passengers embarking on flights north of the border.

On the 11th December the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a weighty tome that puts a case for the break-up of BAA because of competition considerations. "We believe the current market structure does not deliver best value for air travellers in the UK, and that greater competition within the industry could bring significant benefits for passengers," was the view of OFT chief executive John Fingleton.

BAA is investing £9.5bn in London over the next 10 years, terminal five at Heathrow in 2008 and a second runway at London Stansted. BAA reckons this programme would become more expensive if carried out by smaller management companies in the case of disbandment.

BAA charges airlines as much as the Civil Aviation Authority allows at Heathrow and Gatwick. Landing and take off slots are in high demand. The prices maybe set too low given the supply and demand ratio. London Heathrow's landing charges are by no means the most expensive - 14th in Europe. Gatwick's landing charges come in at the 20th in the price league.

BAA's chief executive Stephen Nelson points out: "The main issue facing the UK is a lack of terminal and runway capacity in the South-East which results in delay and congestion."

The company makes just over half its revenue from charges to airlines. The rest comes from airport retailing and other services such as car parking.

The Office of Fair Trading is recommending a full investigation by the Competition Commission but will hold an eight-week consultation before it makes the formal referral to the Competition Commission