By ERIC TORBENSON / The Dallas Morning News email@example.com |
If it wants to maximize revenue, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport needs to raise parking rates for both customers and off-airport operators that benefit from passengers, a consultant recommended Tuesday.
Ricondo & Associates of Chicago outlined steps that would boost the airport’s annual revenue to $166 million a year by 2020 from $97 million in its most recent fiscal year. Among the recommendations:
•Raise rates $2 a day for terminal parking in 2011 and another $1 a day every three years beyond that. The rate rose Oct. 1 from $17 a day to $18 a day for TollTag users and $19 a day for those who don’t use TollTag. Parking at the terminal is D/FW’s most expensive option and its biggest money-maker, though its fees are lower than rates at similar-size airports.
•Add new options for parking, such as a “premium” option for Terminal D that would allow fliers to park close to the terminal for a higher rate. The airport should also start a reservation program and a loyalty program to keep up with other airports.
•Improve D/FW’s express parking by covering spaces, and follow up with rate increases.
•Fix remote parking, which loses money for D/FW, by lowering shuttle bus costs and adjusting rates, which would probably mean raising them.
•Be prepared to add more spaces to take advantage of airport growth.
D/FW board member Bernice Washington said the recommendations are merely starting points for the board as it contemplates how much revenue it needs from parking.
“We may not decide to take any of the recommendations,” she said at the committee meeting. The next step is for airport staff to review the consultant’s report and make its recommendation to the board.
Ricondo also recommended that D/FW adopt a single valet parking provider, instead of the four that compete today, after it renovates its older terminals. That would mean big changes for the three off-airport valet operators: FreedomPark, Airport Valet and the Parking Spot.
Parking Concepts Inc., which provides the on-airport valet services, said it would welcome a process by which the airport had to pick just one operator.
“The recommendations that were presented today reflect the excellent customer service that we’ve developed over the past three years,” said David Mueller, a vice president and spokesman for California-based PCI.
Ken Kundmueller, owner of FreedomPark and the loudest critic of D/FW’s approach to the valet parking issue, declined to comment on the recommendations Tuesday. In the past, Kundmueller has implored his customers to write to D/FW to protest what he considers unfair treatment of off-airport companies.
To finance its terminal renovation, D/FW will issue $2.7 billion in new debt to go along with its $3.6 billion of current debt. To offset the higher debt costs, the airport needs to increase its non-airline revenue, and that means finding more concession and parking dollars.
Fitch Ratings Service downgraded D/FW’s credit rating last month, saying the airport’s debt ratio would rise compared with its peer airports as it sold the new bonds to pay for redeveloping its older terminals.