Friday, August 14, 2009

Shame on you DFW Airport

Here is an email I received from Ken Kundmueller, CEO of FreedomPark in Dallas, Texas. FreedomPark is a small business trying to provide valet service to DFW airport users. I've used the service and love it. DFW Airport is trying to squash the little guy in favor of keeping all the money for themselves. Shame on them.

In June the D/FW Airport Board approved a financial bailout for the California parking company (PCI) that operates the D/FW branded valet parking (you know, the guys that say “There's Only One”). The Board waived the minimum annual guarantee that PCI agreed to in the contract, and the percentage fee PCI pays to the airport was reduced by 33.3%.

Here's the part you're not going to like.

This past week the D/FW Airport Board approved a 25% increase in the fees that you, as a FreedomPark customer, have to pay for the right to chose FreedomPark as your valet service. That's right. The airport's DFW branded valet company's fees went down 33%, yours went up 25%. I guess they need your money to pay for all the big banners, and carpeted parking slots, and $10 per day valet parking coupons (which we are restricted from having).

The truth is, this has been brewing for some time. I've been holding off notifying you to see how the airport was going to respond to the financial results of their in-house valet project.

What are those results? PCI, the airport's valet contractor from California, lost $2.1M on $2.4M in revenues its first year in business. That's a loss of 87% on revenue. D/FW Airport also may have lost approximately $1.1M on the valet project based on information we have obtained through the Texas Public Information Act (information even the Airport Board has not been shown).

Instead of acknowledging the failure of this project, and allowing the successful off-airport valet companies like FreedomPark to take up the slack, D/FW Airport has responded by placing operating restrictions on the free-enterprise providers, and by using their regulatory authority to increase the financial and operating disparity between their government-supported operation and the independent valet companies. If you want a more detailed explanation of the systematic steps the airport is taking to eliminate competition in this market, click on this link.

But the bottom line is that they are increasing your fees to pay for their failed project. I personally believe that in order for their valet project to succeed they will ultimately need to eliminate all other valet options and establish a monopoly in the airport valet service industry at D/FW Airport. I believe that if the airport's Parking Business Unit is able to regulate the industry without any public accountability, then their
valet motto will become a reality: "There's Only One." In fact that is
exactly what one of their marketing memos states as a goal: “To build a fence around parking business from going to off-airport.” (June 9, 2008)

Carolyn, that will be a sad day, not only for you and for me. It will be a sad day for private enterprise in North Texas. The message to free enterprise will be: If you innovate for the benefit of the North Texas traveler, take risk, invest capital, develop a market, work hard to serve that market, and are successful in your efforts, DFW Airport will use its regulatory authority to usurp your innovation and seize control of that market. What country are we in?

I've appealed to the airport staff, with no results. So it's up to you.

If you want to insure that you always have a choice of service providers in a fair market, you are going to need to let the Airport Board and staff know how you feel. You are their customer. They exist to serve you. If you reside in the city limits of Dallas or Fort Worth you might also want to contact your city council member or mayor.

You can email the D/FW Airport Board and staff, or call them. The email addresses and phone numbers are listed below. Better yet, take a few minutes to defend our free enterprise system and your right to chose, and come to the next D/FW Airport Board meeting. You can contact the Board secretary, Donna Schnell, at to register as a speaker. You'll have 3 minutes to talk. The next meeting is at 8:30 AM on Thursday, September 3, at the DFW Airport administrative offices. I will be there.

Thanks for your support, and for being a FreedomPark customer.

Ken Kundmueller
CEO, FreedomPark Airport Valet Services
214-673-0524 cell

Jeff Fegan
CEO DFW Airport DFW International Airport 3200 East Airfield Drive DFW Airport, TX 75261 972-973-5200

Ken Buchanan
Executive Vice President - Revenue Management D/FW Airport
DFW International Airport
3200 East Airfield Drive
DFW Airport, TX 75261

Armin Cruz
Vice President - Parking D/FW Airport DFW International Airport 3200 East Airfield Drive DFW Airport, TX 75261 972-973-4850

Lillie M. Biggins
Member, D/FW Airport Board

Harris Methodist Fort Worth
1301 Pennsylvania Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104

Robert Hsueh
Secretary, D/FW Airport Board Law Offices of Robert Hsueh
4201 Spring Valley Road; Ste. 1102
Dallas, TX, 75244-3619
972 239-5888

Tom Leppert
Mayor, City of Dallas

Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla Street, Room 5EN
Dallas, TX 75201-6390

Mike Moncrief
Mayor, City of Fort Worth

1000 Throckmorton St
Fort Worth, TX 76102

Francisco Hernandez
Vice Chair, D/FW Airport Board
Law Offices of Francisco Hernandez
800 W Weatherford
Fort Worth, TX, 76102

Benjamin Muro
Chair, D/FW Airport Board
Acme Brick
2821 West 7th Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107-2288

Bernice Washington
Member D/FW Airport Board
BJW Consulting Group, LLC
18352 Dallas Parkway ste. 136 PMB 340
Dallas Tx 75287 6842

Brenda Reyes
Member D/FW Airport Board
Arriba Solutions
6333 E. Mockingbird Lane # 147-779
Dallas Tx 75214

Betty J. Culbreath
Member D/FW Airport Board
P.O. Box 764588
Dallas Tx 75376

Forrest Smith
Member D/FW Airport Board
Forrest Smith
3232 McKinney Ave

Media Contacts

Cheryl Hall
Dallas Morning News

Jack Fink
Channel 11 News

Bennett Cunningham
Channel 11 News

Eric Torbenson
Dallas Morning News

Byron Okada
Fort Worth Star Telegram

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