News Article - July 26, 2008

By Linda Loyd

Inquirer Staff Writer

  A trip to Philadelphia International Airport is going to cost more - if you park there. Parking rates are going up Friday for stays of longer than two hours. It will cost the same to park for 30 minutes or an hour, $3 and $5, respectively, in both the parking garages and short-term lots. The rate to park three hours in garages and short-term lots will go to $15 from $13. The daily flat rate for the long-term economy lot also will rise $2 - to $11, Philadelphia Parking Authority spokeswoman Linda Miller said yesterday. The rate to park 24 hours in short-term lots will remain $38. The 24-hour rate in garages will increase from to $20 from $17. The increases will generate an additional $6 million annually in gross revenue, Miller said.

   After expenses, the net proceeds will go directly to the airport, which she said will help hold down the rents the airport charges airlines for gates and other facilities. Airlines, struggling with rising jet-fuel costs, asked Philadelphia airport officials in May to try to find other revenue sources and to keep the airlines' rates and charges "relatively flat," said Charles Isdell, acting Philadelphia aviation director. "The airlines are looking for every way possible to reduce their costs of doing business," Isdell said.

   City aviation officials plan to generate additional revenue from non-airline sources - fees paid by rental-car agencies, limos and taxis, and airport concessions, including shops and restaurants that will open in November in Terminals D and E. The aviation division also will defer equipment and vehicle purchases and hiring in order to reduce spending, Isdell said. Through the added charges, new parking revenue and cost-cutting, airport officials said they have identified $13.7 million in revenue in an annual operating budget of $230 million. "We are going to try to keep the airlines' rents as close to this year's levels as we can," Isdell said.

   Higher parking rates will bring the airport about $4.1 million this fiscal year. The aviation department currently gets $33.6 million from airport parking. "We've been trying to be very austere for the last several years," Isdell said. "Our prime carrier, US Airways, was in bankruptcy twice. "We've kept our costs down relative to a lot of other airports in this part of the country. The parking increase is just one piece of a very large puzzle."

Source - Philadelphia Inquirer