Newcastle Airport fine slammed

THE lack of a ‘‘pick-up’’ zone at Newcastle Airport is hitting motorists in the pocket, with some being charged more than $500 for stopping illegally to collect visitors to the region.
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Michael Graham, who runs a storage-tank business at Tomago, collects employees from the airport at least once a week and said the parking situation was resulting in ridiculous fines and ‘‘price gouging’’ by the Port Stephens Council.

Mr Graham was fined $506 last month for stopping in a disabled zone to pick up an employee.

‘‘The vehicle was stopped for less than 10 seconds whilst the employee jumped in the car,’’ he said.

‘‘If that cost me $50, I’d think ‘fair enough’, but $506 is steep for five seconds and no disruption to traffic.’’

A council spokeswoman said there was no tolerance to illegal parking in disabled access spaces across NSW.

Over the past 12 months, rangers have issued 280 fines at Newcastle Airport, with 13 of those for parking illegally in disabled spaces.

Mr Graham said when he arrived, there was no free parking, other than near the departures area, which was clogged with cars.

Newcastle Airport aviation and business development manager David Nye said there was no pick-up zone because the airport did not have expansive terminal frontage.

‘‘We are looking at a plan within the next six months where we will be able to create space at the front of the terminal for a free pick-up zone,’’ he said.

Mr Nye said the airport discouraged people from stopping in front of the arrivals area because it was often congested.

‘‘We offer $2.50 parking for 30 minutes within walking distance to the terminal,’’ he said.

The airport announced on Tuesday another 60 car spaces in its Silver 1 and 3 parks near the terminal.

Michael Graham intends contesting a $506 fine for illegally using a disabled parking space at Newcastle Airport.

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