Parking Fees in Charleston Airport are Expected to Rise As $89 Million Garage Opens
Charleston International Airport will provide holiday travelers with plenty of parking space when its new, $89 million garage opens on Thursday, November 19th, 2020. However, passengers and visitors need to pay higher fees in order to use this 3,005-space garage. The rates on Daily Deck’s five-tier structure, will be a maximum of $5 per hour or $17 per day. On the other hand, the parking fee in the older three-level garage near the terminal, which is now called the Hourly Deck, will increase from $15 per day to $21 per day, but the charge per hour will still remain at $3. The charge for surface parking will also increase, too. It will change by $1 to $11 per day, and the rate per hour will jump from$3 to $5. These changes will take effect on Friday, November 20th, the day after the new Charleston International Airport garage is officially open. This is according to the Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, Herman Peña. Charleston Aiport’s Chief Executive Officer, Elliot Summey, stated that the increased fees are required to help pay for the debt on the new deck, which is worth $72 million. He also said that these rates are not in response to the low revenue coming into the Aviation Authority when the COVID-19 pandemic happened, but a part of the overall parking plan when it’s under construction. In early 2019, the board members voted to change the surcharge on car rentals by $1.50 to $5 per day for each vehicle to help lower down the cost. This happened before the construction of the deck began. This followed a rate increase in parking fees in 2016 to fund the new deck. The Charleston County Council provided an initial approval to a new 5% fee on car rentals earlier this week. This is approved to help pay for airport improvements, including road maintenance and new air services. Summey said that these funds could also support the parking garage itself. However, two more majority votes are still required for this measure to take effect. He considered the new garage as a vital addition once the commercial air travel starts to go back to normal again. Summey said that it was a challenge for everyone to find a parking space at the airport sometimes even before the pandemic occurred. He stated that they need to have the garage in place to handle the number of people that will eventually be coming to the airport after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. The new Charleston Airport deck was meant to relieve the pressure on parking from the traffic growth around the airport, which was projected last January to accommodate up to 5 million passengers for the first time this 2020. Air travel at Charleston International Airport decreased by 96% after the pandemic started. But it bounced back to about 40% of its usual passenger volume. For all of 2020, CHarleston now expects just below 2 million ticket holders, decreasing the demand for parking space.