As more flyers take to the skies this summer, finding a parking spot at one of the region’s three major airports is getting harder and pricier.
Starting Thursday, motorists will have to pay significantly more for parking at LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports — up to $89 a day for those who don't reserve a spot in advance.
This comes amid a spike in summer air travel that is putting a strain on parking lots, according to the Port Authority, a bistate public agency which operates the three airports. Almost 38% of passengers take a private or company car to the airport, according to a Port Authority 2021 survey.
Revenue collected from parking will go into a general fund that is used for such things as construction and infrastructure.
WHAT TO KNOW
- Parking at the LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark airports is about to get costlier amid a spike in air travel.
- The Port Authority said it is raising rates to manage increased parking demand.
- Passengers can save by pre-booking a parking spot 24 hours in advance.
“While the revenue from airport parking goes to the agency’s general fund, this rate change is about managing demand and extends to individual garages where rates differ based on use," Port Authority spokesman Tom Topousis said in an email.
The agency is urging passengers to take mass transit, taxis or ride-share services during the summer peak travel period.
Pre-booked parking rates reserved 24 hours in advance and the more expensive drive-up fares are both seeing cost increases. At Kennedy Airport, pre-booking rates will spike as much as 66% at the orange garage, from $36 to $60.
At LaGuardia Airport, daily drive-up rates at all the terminals are up, including a 36% rise at Terminal A, from $55 to $75.
At Terminal C at LaGuardia Airport, rates to pre-book will climb from $45 to $52.
Drivers who fail to pre-book at least 24 hours in advance are not guaranteed a spot and will pay nearly double at the gate in some cases. For instance, the red parking lot at Kennedy will cost $36 to pre-book but will jump to $70 for motorists who drive up. At Terminal C at LaGuardia, the pre-booking rate will be $52 versus $89 for those who don’t reserve a spot.
Economy parking will also go up, from $29 per day to $35 per day at LaGuardia and from $20 to $35 at JFK's Federal Circle lot.
"Travelers who do not pre-book will be charged a summer peak period drive-up surcharge and may not be able to find a parking spot at the airport," Topousis added.
Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Co. Inc., an independent airline industry analysis firm based in Port Washington, said the fees are meant to deter people from driving and to prod them instead to choose public transportation, which he said was lacking.
“The state, city, MTA and the Port Authority has made using public transportation a theoretical exercise. It’s not a very practical exercise for most people," Mann said.
He said he long ago stopped driving to the airports.
"For $24 a day or for $89 a day, it sure isn’t worth it," Mann said. "I just simply don't know anyone who would do that anymore at those prices."
In March, the governor ditched plans for an AirTrain at LaGuardia Airport that would have linked to the LIRR’s Port Washington line. Instead, a panel of transportation experts recommended improved MTA Bus service to the airport, and a new nonstop shuttle bus service to and from Astoria.
Transportation experts previously told Newsday it would be difficult to lure Long Islanders out of cars onto a train and bus, which is what it takes to get to LGA.
As if getting to the airport, wasn’t already challenging, passengers at Kennedy Airport, which is undergoing a $19 billion overhaul, may also be inconvenienced by some construction-related AirTrain disruptions.
The Terminal 1 station at JFK closed in May for seven months, forcing passengers to grab shuttle buses at Terminal 8 or 4 to circle back. Buses at Terminal 8 will operate 24 hours a day while Terminal 4 buses run from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The rehab effort at JFK will also cut 2,500 parking spaces of the 17,000 previously available.
Underlying the parking rate hikes, Mann believes, is likely a push to boost non-aeronautical revenue that is generated from activities such as parking and retail, drink and food concessions. Aeronautical revenue includes passenger fees, airline landing and usage fees.
“The people who actually park pay the largest amount of fees for those transactions. It’s part of increasing the non-aeronautical fee, which only takes pressure off of having to increase rates for airlines using the airport,” Mann said.
Tori Tomasheski, co-owner of Garden-City based ET Family Travel, said she is keeping clients aware of ongoing work at JFK and recommends people use private transportation instead of driving themselves.
“That is usually an easier and more economical option,” Tomasheski said in a text message. “People want to get away, but it has to work with their budget.”
The agency said it will reevaluate parking rates when summer peak travel period concludes. Short-term hourly rates will not be affected for the first three hours.