The car rental companies have seen new regulations in the airports of Faro, Porto and Lisbon. The airport authorities of Portugal – ANA Aeroportos de Portugal have come up with new rules that apply to the off-site car rental companies and the rule took effect from April 2015.

These policies do only apply to the mainland airports, but it is expected in the future to also include the airports of the Azores and Madeira.

It is estimated, that the regulation will have an effect on the car rental prices for the off-site operators. The new ruling forces the off-site companies to pay a share of what they will earn at car hire deals made at the airport. The competition was unfairly distributed, as the off-site operators caught the attention of the customers already at the shuttle bus and drove them to their own offices, with no charge. Now they will be paying a part of every deal they close at the airport or of every shuttlebus run, picking the customers up at the airport

Interrent Porto Airport - Fiat Panda

Interrent is amongst the off-site rental companies in Porto Airport
© Photo: 

However, as of the 1st of April 2015, the ANA Aeroportos de Portugal has chosen to set a price between €10 and €17 for each rental deal, the off-site companies make. These fees have resulted in an increase of the price of renting a car through an off-site provider.

Reason for the airport car rental charges

ANA’s decision was based on the need to make the car rental competition (on- and off-site operators), taking place at the Portuguese airports more equal, but also to improve their own ability, as an airport authority, to control the activity of the unlicensed operators working from the airports.

For many years the on-site companies have paid high prices to have offices in the terminals in the airport, to have regular parking spots and last, but not least; to pay the airport a fixed amount of their earnings.

This makes it very desirable for the airports to give the front desks to the heavyweights of the car rental industry, who will have no difficulties paying up.

Airport charge on car hire deals Cartrawler Portugal

As a reaction to the regulation, ANA put out on April 1st 2015, the off-site car rental companies and Cartrawler made an adjustment to their rental conditions: a charge of €15 for every booking made through these companies or search engines will apply. This fee is not included in the rental price, and must be paid locally.

When booking a car with Cartrawler, it will appear under ‘Rental conditions’. It will too be mentioned in the voucher sent by mail after the booking. Please note, that this only apply when booking from off-site companies, and not from providers like Avis, Europcar, Hertx, Sixt or Guerin (on-site operators), unless other specifications are given.

Is low price rental car low quality?

The fact that a car rental company is cheap, doesn’t necessarily mean, that they offer low quality services or cars. It is frequently seen that many customers, who already booked from a cheap car rental company, often return to the same company next time.

The low price doesn’t necessarily imply an inferior quality. Often do the low-cost providers offer the same quality as the large companies. In many cases the cars are delivered personally to the customer in the airport, or the company organises shuttle service for the customer to get to their office, which generally is nearby the airport. The low price of the rental makes up for the small detour.

However, it is frequently seen, that there are problems with the low cost companies among the customers. The complaints vary from low quality to minor damages to the cars to unclear policies that are hard to see through etc.

Something for something – visibility for the off-site airport car hire providers

The ANA will accordingly help raise the standard of the services provided by the authorised operators in the Portuguese airports. As ANA’s Executive Board Member, Luís Vaz, thinks there is “room for everybody” in the airport car rental business.

To have a look on the year of 2014, from a car rental perspective, it was very successful. The year of 2014 was incredibly lucrative for the airport rent a car companies in mainland Portugal, resulting in a profit of staggering €171 million.

It is however to be noticed, that the charge (€10-€17 per vehicle rented and €20-€24 per shuttle bus run), does give the off-site companies their money’s worth, each of them gets a dedicated parking area provided by the airport and signposting in the terminal helps to increase their visibility to the customer.

Important note: it will not be possible for walk-in customers to rent a car in the airport – it is available only for the customers who booked the car beforehand.