Airport car park prices go sky high

SOME frequent travellers say they are suffering bill shock after parking fees at Sydney Airport rose by as much as 100 per cent to cost more than a plane ticket.

The change from hourly charging to calendar-charging means travellers who park in the short-term domestic terminal in the evening and collect their vehicles the following morning have to pay twice as much they did last week.

''On Tuesday night I parked at 8.50pm and collected my car the next morning at 7.30am, so roughly 11 hours, and I was charged $112 to park my car. Last week the same trip cost $56 - a 100 per cent increase,'' Nick Michaels said.

Mr Michaels, who works in Sydney and travels at least once a week to Melbourne to see his family, said the increase was excessive and would add $3000 to his annual parking costs, forcing him to spend less time with them.

''On Wednesday, I saw the guy in the car in front of me put his card into the machine and scream into the intercom,'' Mr Michaels said.

A Sydney Airport spokeswoman said new ''state-of-the-art parking equipment'' allowed for online rates that would offer discounts of up to 73 per cent for pre-bookings.

The spokeswoman said only 17 per cent of short-stay parking users left their vehicles for more than three hours, and would still be able to book two calendar-day slots on the web for $85.

"Customers can book anytime up to six hours in advance of their estimated arrival time and have a generous grace period either side of that time to enter the car park. This provides them with flexibility they need to manage their flight times," she said.

But Mr Michaels said the airport's new pricing structures were inconvenient for frequent travellers like him who often travel for only a few hours at short notice.

An Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) annual report for 2010-11 found Sydney Airport had the most expensive rates for short-term car parking per hour as at June 30, 2011.

The report also found that for the 2010-11 financial year, Melbourne's Tullamarine airport earned $114.6 million from customers, while Sydney Airport recorded the highest revenue at Australian airports - $7983 - per car park space.