CHOICE membership

Airports - the gold standard of monopoly?



No - I agree it wouldn’t work for a pay at exit park, though I’ve never used one where I had to and always paid in the terminal or car park prior to exit. I figure if there is too much traffic to get out before the grace period expires its bad planning on their part and I’d push the button to summon the parking overlord. If the park only has pay at the gate then that theory is moot and the 0.60 per minute is still the issue. As an aside, my vehicle is equipped with ‘boom-gate assist’, which I did use once when the gate wouldn’t open, it was after hours (regional airport), the help button rang out quite a number of times and on trying to lift the gate found it locked down quite effectively by the mechanism …

I we define everyone=consumers I reckon the free option would come close :wink: it wouldn’t make the pirates running the park very happy though …


The rates at the time were $9 for the first 30mins. Then $18 for one hour. Under any reasonable consumer law this type of charging would be illegal. It needs to be pro-rata regardless of how reasonable or excessive the base rate is.

The effective rate is actually $0.30 per minute and gets less after the first hour.[quote=“TheBBG, post:40, topic:15416”]
Are you happy to pay $0.60/minute for that luxury experience? You essentially pay for that time either way, but tiered it seems more innocuous (marketing psychology).

Hence $10.00 is the fairer charger for 33 minutes, $11.00 for 36 minutes etc up to $18 for 60 minutes assuming the charge is a fair reflection on the true cost of providing that service? You could take it to cents for credit payments, however for cash payment I recollect the change is in whole dollars only!

Your butcher cannot charge you for 2kg of mince if you ask for 1.2kg. You pay only for the measured weight. The same law needs to be applied to parking where the use is measurable.

The rate for one hour certainly is a rip off given $18 for one hour times 7 days in a week is $126. I recently parked long term for 10 days for almost the same cost with valet parking!

To get real value you might like to stay up to two hours for just another $4 for the extra hour, a total of $22. At this point BAC must clearly be into profit mode otherwise the extra hour would also cost another $18? Coincidentally very similar to the cost of an airport service train ticket from the city in Brisbane.

Other than free which might see the car park always full and unusable - a fixed base fee to cover the entry exit costs (EG $3.00 plus $0.25c/minute) might be what we should demand.

There are many other options noting the off site parking operators and shuttle services can be competitive for some instances. If you have someone to drop off or pick up who needs assistance to get through checkin or at pick up you have few options other than to use the car parks.


I visited the Cairns Domestic Terminal with my wife a fortnight ago, and whilst there, I needed to visit the rest rooms.
When it was time to do the paperwork, I was amazed and disgusted that the toilet rolls are very large rolls of unperforated, super thin paper.
After tearing off the first random length, I noticed that it was actually folded into two. I attempted to unfolded the tangled mess only to find that, even when unfolded, it was nowhere as wide as real toilet tissue. The only thing that could be done with it was to scrunch each length into a flattened mess.
Of course, there was no paper towel dispensers to allow hygienic hand drying, only electric hand dryers which a recent university article recommended not be used as they had proven that they spread contamination in the air, and to use paper hand towels instead.
I opted to give my hands a quick dry on the back of my polo shirt instead. I then had the privilege of stumping up with $11 for the carpark rip-off.
So, despite milking the airlines, the passengers, the shops, the charter operators, the taxis and the motorists at every possible turn, they are too cheap to at least provide real toilet tissue and paper hand towelling.


It’s approx 4weeks since I also had a similar opportunity to review the services at Cairns Domestic.

As a positive they have come a long way since the spider guarded weather board facilities with optional saw dust and old phone book.

Cairns airports facilities challenge this statement a little. The large endless roll holders have been relegated to the scrap heap elsewhere. The bacteria dispersing blowers are still common. No spiders, though.

The fundamental problem: How do you successfully challenge and enforce change on any enterprise in a privileged uncontested position that has a monopoly on its services?

The recent ACCC take on airport car parking had a brief moment in the sun, however we are now back to the status quo. The cost of an airport train ticket is equally unrealistic.

As I suggested previously - if the governments of the day choose to sell off or long term lease out public assets or key infrastructure, not enough is done to protect the consumer. Any such enterprise should be openly subject to public audit and scrutiny. As there is no competition charges can increase to cover inefficiency, negligent maintenance and poor decission making. There may also be risks of schemes created to inflate costs and transfer profits out of sight. Politely in return for the gift of a monopoly the books need to be open and reported on to the greater public without qualification.
Cairns and Mackay airports are owned by North Queensland Airports Pty Ltd. This is a private company. It can be difficult to determine how profitable it is, what dividends it delivers or whether there are other business relationships that affect its performance financially. Even the true cost base for the investors may be uncertain. The principal share holders are also difficult to access. The financial commitments and goals of each shareholder may differ. Assuming that the enterprise is meeting targets it seems a rather petty outcome that the airport cannot afford to provide a reasonable standard of poo paper, while it can fund expensive infrastructure, levy substantial tenancy charges and airport terminal usage fees.

Public listed companies EG BHP are a little more transparent. Share value is actively traded so they need to be. Even the directors fees and entitlements are public knowledge.


There has been some effect on parking charges at Perth airport they are now showing Led signs that show that the first hour is free in the long stay car park which was not commonly known.
I suppose that is some progress.