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Airport prices drive motorists to shop around

HOLIDAYMAKERS have been advised to shop around to avoid rip-off car parking rates at Dublin Airport.

Motorists who decide to park close to the terminal will face a €280 bill for a week's parking compared to just €35 if they park a little further away.

Online offers also seem to provide significantly better value parking at the airport.

At Dublin airport's highly expensive short-term car park, consumers can cut their bill by booking a week's parking in June, July or August for €70.

The Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) also provides a discount for its long-term car park. Advanced booking with the nearest long-term "Red" car park costs €52.50 for a week booked online, a 21pc discount on the standard €66.50 rate.

For their more remote "Blue" long-term car park, the discount is 13pc, with a week booked online costing €45.50 compared to the standard rate of €52.50.

A spokesperson for the DAA has said that there has been a growing popularity among holidaymakers for online pre-booking.

The spokesperson also confirmed that passengers caught up in the volcanic ash crisis were given refunds while passengers trapped abroad were not charged for the extra delay.

There are also some great airport parking deals on the outskirts of Ireland's busiest airport. The Carlton Hotel, on the Old Airport Road, charges €35 for a week's parking and is open to non-residents, while Crowne Plaza charges €38.50. Both deals can be found at www.airportparkingsite.ie.

Bewley's Airport Hotel in Clonshaugh advertises parking rates of €4.50 per day for stays of more than 14 days. Normally, you'd pay €45.50 for a week.

At €85 a week, a service called Swiftpark will meet you at the terminal, take your car to the car park and then return it to you when you come back.

Ireland's second and third largest airports, Cork and Shannon, do not provide an online booking facility for airport parking, although their daily parking rates are half the price of Dublin's, a week's parking is more expensive, costing €47.50 at Shannon and €49 at Cork.

There are cheaper deals available, however, such as €34 for a week at Airport View parking with transfer to Cork Airport.

Belfast International Airport charges much less online than most airports in the Republic, but again there is a huge discrepancy between advance and standard rates. A week costs €64 if you arrive without booking, nearly twice the €33 charged if you pay in advance on the internet.