Cardiff Airport

The aim: make the entire parking system more customer friendly.

In 2014 Cardiff airport upgraded its parking facilities as part of an ongoing programme designed to make it more customer friendly.

The airport is served by four car parks, Short Stay, Meet & Greet, Drop Off & Pick up and Long stay. All the car parks are surface sites and they provide a total of 3,510 spaces. These car parks now feature a parking solution supplied and installed by DESIGNA UK. The system allows drivers to either pre-book parking or pay on the day at either pay-on-foot stations or terminals on the car park exits.

The challenge

There are 3 Car Parks at Cardiff airport, each offering different parking services. The core aims of the project were to interface with the existing pre-booking system to allow parkers to pre-book parking spaces online before visiting the car park and to allow for parkers to pay at exit with Chip & PIN payment facilities. Thus, providing a smoother journey for visitors and greater customer satisfaction.

The solution

The DESIGNA ABACUS system Cardiff has been configured to cope with large volumes of traffic. Cardiff Airport’s set-up comprises 10 entrance and 12 exit lanes. All the entries and exits feature barriers and ANPR cameras that facilitate entry for pre-bookers and season parkers. The Airport existing pre-booking system and website were interfaced with the DESIGNA parking system enabling customers to pre-book and pay online in advance of arriving at the airport.

The tickets are four-way, meaning they can be presented in any direction and all the exit lanes have Chip & PIN credit card payment facilities. Intercoms enable help to be given to customers who have lost their tickets and multiple languages including Welsh are used for customer communications on the equipment screens.

The Feedback

The improvement to services outside the terminal included investment in new car parking technology.


Jason Thomas, Cardiff Airport’s chief of staff, explains the brief was for a complete replacement of the existing parking equipment at Cardiff Airport with the installation of ANPR technology.


“The project went out to competitive tender and we selected DESIGNA as it was the clear winner against the range of criteria we specified,” he said. “We were particularly impressed by their customer service.”

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