Richmond Airport to reopen economy parking lot in Mid-December

Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 6:37 PM EST
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - With the holiday travel season officially underway, many travelers are concerned with long-term economy parking remaining closed off at Richmond’s International Airport. It’s putting a strain on some wallets because everyone is forced to pay the higher daily garage fees.

The RIC Spokesperson, Troy Bell, says the Economy B lot will reopen in mid-December. Airport officials wanted to reopen it sooner but ran into some staffing and financial challenges.

Bell says it is a good thing they are opening the lot before the Christmas travel surge. Just this past week, RIC’s daily parking lots and garages filled up completely, and they had to open their economy lot as a last resort briefly.

“This last week, we used flaggers for the first time in the garage to move people as they came in to help them locate the first available spot. We’ve never had to do that,” he said. “The garage has 6,500 spaces. It was full - literally to the fourth level to the furthest corner.”

Much like many schools and transportation agencies, the airport had a hard time finding shuttle drivers. They had to double down to hire enough staff.

“We have looked high and low and used a lot of advertising,” Bell said. “We were fortunate to be able to rehire a number of drivers, and then we brought some new ones on. We made some wage adjustments and added sign-on bonuses and referral fees.”

Bell says there was also a financial aspect. The daily lot costs $12 per day while the economy only costs $7 per day, which helped increase revenue during the pandemic.

However, this tactic also upset some people who wanted a cheaper option.

“Financially, we have to be self-supported. We’re charged by the FAA to be as self-supporting as possible, so revenue...that comes out of things like parking,” Bell said. “It goes to pay salaries, to keep the lights on, to fuel the trucks, and everything that we do here at the airport, plus pay our debt.”

Overall, Bell says the airport is eager to reopen this lot. According to the October 2021 Aviation Report, passenger traffic is up 168% compared to this period of time last year.

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