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Hermes entitled to tow illegally parked cars at airports says minister

Larnaca airport parking zone

Hermes Airports, the international consortium that manages Larnaca and Paphos airports, has the right to clamp or tow illegally parked vehicles to safeguard the smooth operation and safety of the airports, according to Communications minister Marios Demetriades.

He was responding to a question raised in Parliament by DIKO deputy Antonis Antoniou in August 2013.

“We would ask the minister to inform the House of Representatives whether the private security company commissioned at the airports has the right to issue traffic tickets and withhold vehicles for illegal parking,” Antoniou had asked.

The ‘traffic tickets’ he was referring to are Hermes’ fee to release clamped or towed vehicles – both ticket and fee are €85.

“In the context of managing the airports and aiming at the smooth, unhindered and safe operation of the airports, Hermes Airports has a duty to offer parking services in the designated areas,” Demetriades said in his letter of response.

“In instances where private vehicles fail to observe traffic laws, thereby hindering either the operation or the security of the airport, or even infringing on the rights of other passengers, as with parking spaces reserved for the handicapped, our view is that Hermes has the right to intervene to face the illegality, in order to secure the offering of proper parking services, smooth transportation and airport security.”

“Therefore, Hermes has commissioned security companies to tow illegally parked vehicles to designated areas, or immobilise them where moving is not feasible. The price it charges for doing so, which does not constitute a traffic ticket, is the fee for releasing the vehicle.”

But Antoniou was unimpressed, arguing that clamping vehicles obstructing passage or illegally occupying a space reserved for the handicapped would do little to remedy the situation.

“We acknowledge Hermes’ right and duty to secure the unhindered and smooth operation of the airports,” he said. “What needs to be clarified by Legal Services is whether private police, commissioned by Hermes can issue tickets and immobilise vehicles to secure the airport’s smooth operation.”

“That is to say, does immobilisation contribute to offering parking services?”

Antoniou said one solution could be 24-hour policing, and complained that his questions had not been answered by Demetriades’ response.

“That is why the issue will be discussed at the House Communications committee with the Attorney General,” he said.

He added that the issue has been submitted to the House.

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