Cyprus Mail

‘Cut airport parking fees or we will’ MPs tell Hermes

By George Psyllides

PARKING charges at the island’s two airports operated by Hermes are high, MPs said yesterday, warning that they could pass legislation regulating fees in public and private facilities.

The issue was discussed at the House Communications committee, along with Hermes’ practice to clamp illegal parked vehicles and charge a release fee of €85.
“To park at the airports today one is charged €6 for 60 to 90 minutes, committee chairman and DIKO MP Antonis Antoniou said.

Antoniou said there has been a significant rise in charges in recent years without prior consultation or approval.

Up until January 2013, the first 20 minutes were free of charge, a decision later rescinded. Up to 30 minutes cost €2 at Larnaca airport and €1.50 at Paphos. Up to an hour cost €3 and 2, respectively and up to 90 minutes cost €3.50 and €3.

AKEL MP Andreas Fakontis said the current rates were high “that is why we have asked the company and the ministry to look into cutting them. Otherwise, we have stated that we will examine the possibility of preparing legislation regulating parking charges in public and private facilities.”

The committee also discussed whether Hermes could clamp vehicles parked illegally and charge to release them.

The Attorney-general ruled in the summer that only the police had this authority and the airport should notify them whenever someone is breaking the law.

“The company has said that it respects the new ruling and will fully enforce it,” Fakontis said.

Hermes said the practice of clamping was based on an earlier ruling of the Attorney-general’s office in 2009.

“This not only gave us the right but also encouraged us to take all the measures necessary to ensure smooth operation of the airports,” Hermes spokesman Adamos Aspris said.

Aspris highlighted the order in the airports’ lots and asked whether people wanted that extended to the rest of the country or “if we want the chaos that dominates in the rest of the country transferred inside the airports.”

Concerning the rates, he said the company offered free of charge parking for 20 minutes for as long as it could.

“Unfortunately, due to the economic crisis and the pressure, we were forced to readjust the fees,” he said. Charges at Cypriot airports are at the same, if not better, levels than other airports, he said.

Aspris said the concession agreement with the state afforded the operator the right to utilise the parking lots as they saw fit.

“Naturally, we do this taking the general situation into account,” Aspris said. “We monitor the situation continuously and take the necessary decisions.”

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