As reported in The Age newspaper on April 9, Melbourne Airport has been ranked equal-worst for service delivery out of Australia’s major airports, despite increasing passenger numbers and surging revenue over the past decade.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission pointed to a trend of “increasing financial margins and lagging quality of service” at the nations four biggest airports – Melbourne (Tullamarine), Brisbane, Perth and Sydney (Kingsford Smith). The report said Melbourne Airport, which has experienced the sharpest rise in passenger numbers last year to more than 31.2 million, “Moved to a lessening of quality and an increase in prices”.
A number of services at Tullamarine were rated “poor”, including aerobridge standards and check-in services at the T3 domestic terminal. Passenger ratings for land side services — access to and from the airport, pick-up and drop-off facilities — have also continued on a downwards trend in recent years. Ratings for the time it takes passengers to enter the airport improved slightly.
December 11 2014
VHCA President Tony Sheridan wrote to Mathew Carney, Melbourne Airport Ground Transport Manager, requesting the VHCA participate on the Stakeholders Airport Forum. Tony did so after several attendees contacted him because they felt there was a lack of genuine engagement. Mr Carney responded declining the offer from the VHCA because he felt there was good progress being made, and Melbourne Airport was satisfied with the results. We will ask Mr Carney to reconsider Melbourne Airports position.
December 9 2014
There has been some misinformation being spread which has caused some confusion. The matter between a number of hire car drivers in dispute with Melbourne airport is ongoing. It is not true, that it has gone to court and those operators have lost their case. The matters relating to Tony Sheridan’s complaints against Melbourne airport will be presented on their own.
All other matters we will put to one side and we will get back to those at a later stage. The team has been very fortunate to have had the services of Mr Stephen Howells, Barrister. Mr Howells has chambers here in Melbourne and in London. He has been a great supporter of the hire car industry, and because of his extensive travel he has seen firsthand the difficulties that hire car operators have had at Melbourne Airport. He has been very generous with his time and has been working for the last 12 months pro bono. We are extremely grateful for his time and experience. As we move forward, funding for the case re Sheridan will be funded privately, not by the VHCA.
Much of the delays to bring these matters forward has been caused by the difficulty of gaining Freedom of Information (FOI) requests from the TSC. Three requests have been made, and as at the time of writing we still have not received a satisfactory response. First request was February 2014. FOI requests were also made with Federal Police who have responded to in a timely manner. A complaint to the Victoria FOI Commissioner for these delays will be lodged.
October 18 2014
We know there is some angst over a number of issues that have occurred at Melbourne Airport. What we can say is, the matters that concern you are ongoing, however, we ask you to be patient, as we attempt to work with the airport in a much more cohesive relationship in the future.
Currently Melbourne airport is selective who they will talk to. Unfortunately, on the surface this diminishes the credibility of their claim of engaging with their broader stakeholders including hire car industry. The VHCA is the only body that represents the interests of all owners and drivers.