Airport rakes in car revenue

MELBOURNE Airport expects car parking charges to amount to almost 20 per cent of its income this financial year, almost double that at Sydney Airport.

Internal company documents seen by The Age show that Melbourne Airport expects car parking to bring in more than $127 million over the 2013 financial year, a bumper return on $8.2 million in car park expenses. This means that 93¢ in each dollar from car parking will be pure profit.

The company documents also reveal that Melbourne Airport expects to report a $201 million profit for the year to June 2013, on revenue of $632 million - a gross profit rate of 31 per cent.

At $127 million, car parking revenue dwarfs what Melbourne Airport expects to make this year from retail ($65 million) and duty free ($64 million). But the documents show parking revenue did not meet expectations in July and August - at $21 million, it was 9 per cent below budget.

Sydney Airport gains about 11 per cent of its revenue from car parking, including car wash and valet charges. However, it does have the highest hourly rate - $16 - of any of the country's airports.

An Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report in March found Melbourne Airport made an annual $87 million profit from car parking - $5115 on each spot. Each space in Sydney earned nearly $8000 a year, $5600 of which was gross profit.

Despite having fewer passengers - at last count Melbourne had 29 million passengers a year, compared with almost 36 million at Sydney - its airport has 23,000 car parks and one public bus stop. By contrast, Sydney Airport has about 15,300 car parks and a train line to the city.

Daniel Bowen, of the Public Transport Users Association, said public transport to Melbourne Airport was lacking. ''If you are prepared to pay for car parking, you get a spot close to the terminal. If you rely on public transport [excluding the SkyBus] you'll be dropped hundreds of metres from the terminal.''