Travellers slugged for $64m in parking fees

Sydney Airport lifted revenue from car parking by almost 12 per cent in the first half, as the country's largest airport stepped up efforts to squeeze more out of its assets.

Sydney Airport lifted revenue from car parking by almost 12 per cent in the first half, as the country's largest airport stepped up efforts to squeeze more out of its assets.

A week after announcing that it was buying out minority shareholders in a $1.2 billion deal, the listed airport has also disclosed that it will fork out $54 million in advisory fees and stamp duty to simplify its complex structure. It will pay those costs out of its surplus cash and debt.

The airport would not split out the amount of fees it will pay to advisers, including those from Macquarie Group, but insisted most of the overall costs would be in stamp duties. The latter has been incurred from the acquisition of minority shareholders.

Australia's largest airport reported a 6 per cent rise in pre-tax earnings to $437 million for the six months to June 30. Revenue rose 9 per cent to $554 million for the half. Car-parking revenue posted the biggest jump - rising from $56.4 million to $63 million - during the half, outpacing both retail, and property and car rental, as sources of income.

Kingsford-Smith has consistently had the highest car-parking revenue and margin per space of Australia's largest airports.

Car parking is a big money spinner for Sydney Airport, although a larger slice of its total income comes from retail, especially from the international terminal.

Sydney Airport will open another 900 parking spaces near the domestic terminals over the coming months, which has been timed to coincide with the peak Christmas travelling period. They are in addition to 3300 carparks the airport opened last year.

Chief executive Kerrie Mather stressed the increase in revenue was the result of a big rise in the number of car parks rather than an increase in charges.

The number of passengers passing through its terminals rose 3 per cent to 18.2 million during the half, largely due to growth in international traffic. The biggest increases were from China and the US.

The airport said the decision by airlines such as Malaysia's AirAsia X and Singapore's Scoot to increase flight frequencies and use larger aircraft helped boost numbers.

Distribution guidance for the full year remains at 22.5ยข per security.

The airport's statutory net profit fell to $24 million, from $88.6 million in same period in 2011-12.

The fall in its bottom-line profit was largely due to it settling a case brought against it by the Tax Office, which will cost the airport $69 million in tax and interest.

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