Gatwick Airport will be the first in the country to experiment with a new peer-to-peer vehicle rental scheme, which could spell the end of pricey airport parking woes.
The new service, named 'rent and earn' would give motorists another choice when leaving a vehicle in the airport's long-stay car park. Run by peer-to-peer rental service Car & Away, the scheme would see cars left in airport parking valeted and then let out for passengers arriving at the airport, as an alternative to pricey traditional car hire.
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The airport still expects to charge for parking – around £85 for two weeks in the long-stay car park – but any income generated from rental would be deducted from the cost. If the vehicle proves to be in demand it could even turn a small profit.
Vehicles left with the company would be valeted, photographed and uploaded to a website. If chosen, the vehicles are subject to RAC checks to ensure roadworthiness and fitted with blackbox-style tracking technology to monitor driving.
Andy Hibbert, founder of Car & Away, said: "We're all used to, and comfortable with, the sharing economy. So sharing a car while people go away isn't such a big step. Especially when owners not only make money out of it, but benefit from dropping the car right next to the terminal and get a professional valet."
The new service could drive down the price of airport parking for more people. A study last year found that the price of depositing your car at an airport can sometimes cost more than a flight – with parking for two weeks costing up to £200 in some cases. Through Car & Away's scheme, a small car could generate up to £80, with larger vehicles capable of generating over double that.
Gary Wallace, head of car parking at Gatwick airport, said: "The new service offers passengers an alternative option when it comes to renting vehicles from the airport and gives them a chance to offset their parking costs.
"Our goal is to help as many people to travel for less, in a convenient way."