Auditor: DIA loses hundreds of thousands in rental car concession revenues

Travelers could have paid for quite a few trips with the nearly $1.5 million in revenue the Denver International Airport reportedly lost from 2014 to 2016.

Denver International Airport's iconic pitched roof. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)dia; denver international airport; aerotropolis; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty
Denver International Airport's iconic pitched roof. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) dia; denver international airport; aerotropolis; denver; denverite; colorado; kevinjbeaty
Denver International Airport’s iconic pitched roof. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Travelers could have paid for quite a few trips with the nearly $1.5 million in revenue the Denver International Airport reportedly lost from 2014 to 2016.

The auditor for the city and county of Denver said two rental car companies skipped out on thousands in rental car concession revenues. DIA agreed to address the issue going forward, according to a news release sent Friday.

DIA has an agreement between rental car companies where the companies collect a concession fee and a customer facility charge from all airport customers and then send those dollars to DIA. Offices within a 20-mile radius of the airport are also required to charge airport customers the fees within 24 hours of their flight.

The audit found Avis owed DIA approximately $1.46 million in fees and interest. The rental car company reportedly did not identify which of its clients were airport customers and so didn’t collect the fees.

The other company mentioned in the audit was Alamo which was found to be underpaying concession fees. During the audited period, DIA’s Property Division failed to quickly provide Avis and Alamo with reestablished rental rates which resulted in almost $9,000 in underpaid facility and ground rent.

“All of the money is ultimately recoverable,” said Heath Montgomery, DIA spokesman. Avis and Alamo were the only companies believed to be underpaying or not charging the fees.

The city and county auditor only looked at Avis and Alamo because they possessed the largest market share out of the rental car companies not already being audited by DIA.

Montgomery said the other companies were being audited as part of regular internal audits and not in response to issues with fees.

Rental car concessions are a big revenue generator for DIA. In 2015, they accounted for 12 percent of the airport’s operating revenue and were the fourth largest revenue stream at the airport, according to the release.

DIA is at least partly responsible for the loss in revenue, according to the auditor.

Weaknesses in the practice of the airport’s Property Division included not forcing rental car companies within the 20-mile radius to follow the fee rules, failing to provide rental car companies with correct and timely minimum amounts owed and failing to make sure the airport was getting its money in a timely manner after receiving end-of-the-year annual reports from the companies, according to the audit report.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia covers business and trends for Denverite. He's covered business for The Fort Collins Coloradoan and serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.