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PASSENGER SERVICES Last modified on October 19, 2016

Paying off

Airports continue to enhance their parking facilities to make them more efficient and customer friendly, writes Joe Bates. 

It is now possible to use PayPal to reserve a car parking space at Frankfurt Airport after the German gateway added it as a payment option on its online booking system.

Airport operator, Fraport, claims it took the decision to add the payment option – it was already possible to use credit cards – because PayPal is widely used in Germany with around 17.2 million active customers.

It notes that with 14,000 parking spaces available within a short distance of its terminals it is not essential to book in advance, but notes that those that do can save up to 61% compared with the standard parking fees, depending on the season, parking duration and demand. 

Fraport says: “The advance online reservation for a parking space at Frankfurt Airport has many advantages. It is convenient, offers an attractive discount and can be carried out quickly and easily in just a few clicks.”


Smart-sensor guidance system

Park Assist is currently installing its M4 smart-sensor camera based parking guidance system at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska.

Eppley Airfield will become the second airport in the US to utilise the technology, joining Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida.

“Our technology will provide Omaha’s Eppley Airfield and its travellers with an effortless parking experience along with reduced traffic congestion,” enthuses Park Assist’s CEO, Gary Neff.

“Our Find Your Car technology will be available on the flyOMA app. The app identifies the number of available spaces per level before arriving at the airport. When a traveller returns, the app will locate your car.”

Traffic at the gateway has increased over the past two years and the rise in demand has led to the need to upgrade its existing infrastructure and parking availability. 

The M4 Camera Based Parking Guidance System will be installed in the existing parking garage and an outdoor vehicle detection system will be installed in the two surface lots. 

Omaha travellers will enjoy guidance to over 7,000 parking spaces at the airport.  


Ensuring a positive experience

In Ireland, Cork Airport has contracted Advanced Parking Solutions Ltd to upgrade its car parks with software from Skidata, which includes 11 new automatic pay stations.

As part of the modernisation programme, the Skidata system was installed onto a new virtualised IT network within the car park environment to ensure resilience and security as well as fast data and voice communication transfer. 

The system has been integrated with Advam’s pre-booking system and also offers 2D/QR barcode reading on all public entry and exit barriers to allow future ticketless access technologies.

“This was a great example of teams from across the business coming together to deliver a quality product that has a direct impact on the public’s perception of Cork Airport,” says the airport’s IT business relationship manager, Conor O’ Driscoll.

“Car parks tend to be the first and last touch point with the airport for a lot of the travelling public and are hugely important in ensuring a positive customer experience.” 

Phase 2 of the system upgrade will include integration with Advam chip and pin credit card payment at all pay stations as well all public entry and exit lanes with chip/contactless credit card payments.


Easing road congestion at LAX

The world’s largest Consolidated Rent-A-Car (CONRAC) facility set to be built on a 136-acre site at Los Angeles International Airport will immediately remove around 18% of the road traffic from the central terminal area, according to deputy executive director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), Cynthia Guidry.

The complex is a key project of LAWA’s $5.5 billion Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP) and will replace more than 20 separate car rental facilities today, which Guidry admits is confusing for customers and one of the biggest sources of complaints about LAX.

It will be connected directly to the terminals by a new 2.5 mile Automated People Mover (APM) system and complemented by new roadways and a variety of different intermodal transfer facilities in and around the airport that between them are projected to remove between 30% and 35% of traffic from the central terminal area.  

Referring to LAMP, Guidry says: “We want to do something that not only improves the way our airport flows but also makes life easier for passengers as we recognise that the guest experience often starts way before setting foot on the airport.

“It should ensure that when people get to any one of our facilities, whether this is the consolidated rental car complex or a drop-off location a mile away, they will feel like they have arrived at a wonderful airport.”

The world’s seventh busiest airport based on the 74.9 million passengers to pass through its facilities in 2015 is aiming to complete LAMP by 2023, and it may need it if Los Angeles is successful in its bid to host the 2024 Olympics.

Road congestion is one of the biggest challenges faced by LAX today, admits Guidry, who says that during busy peak periods it is not uncommon to encounter gridlock a mile or two away from the airport.

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