Airport officials want to impose a fee on off-site rental car companies when they pick up airport customers.
The Oklahoma City Airport Trust voted Thursday to pursue extending a 10 percent concession fee to off-site rental car companies within 10 miles of the airport on transactions with airport customers, excluding those with an Oklahoma driver's license. Rental car operators located at the airport pay a concession fee equal to 10 percent of their gross receipts.
Mark Kranenburg, director of airports for Oklahoma City, plans to present the measure to the Oklahoma City Council, which has final authority.
Rental car companies at the airport support the fee as a way to “level the playing field,” Kranenburg said. Because off-site operators don't pay the fee, they are able to charge customers less, which is unfair to the on-site providers invested in the airport, he said. Eight rental car companies operate at the airport and pay the concession fee in addition to fees for parking garage space and counter rent.
“We're doing what the industry wants,” he said.
Transactions with airport customers by off-site rental car operators comprise 2 percent of the airport market, Kranenburg said. Advantage Rent A Car, a Hertz subsidiary, and American Motor Rental are two businesses that likely will be affected.
Matthew Pierce, owner and operator of American Motor Rental, said 10 percent is too high considering the taxes renters already pay, including 8.375 percent sales tax in Oklahoma City and a 6 percent rental tax. Companies such as his wouldn't absorb the fee, so it would be passed on to the customer.
“It just seems like that is a lot to put on the renter,” he said.
His small, independent business specializes in vacationers. He often receives calls from airport customers Mondays and Tuesdays, when on-site rental cars sell out and people are looking for an alternative.
He has applied for a ground services agreement that businesses such as airport shuttles, taxis and hotels need to pick up customers at the airport; it costs $600 a year.
Kranenburg said airport staff has been considering applying the concession fee to off-site operators for years but decided to take action now, as plans progress on a new, consolidated rental car facility. Once it is built, all rental car pickups and drop-offs will take place there.
If adopted by the city council, the fee revenue will go to the trust but will not earmarked for the consolidated rental car facility.