Passenger volumes soar at the Ottawa Airport

As more passengers fly through YOW, airlines add capacity
An airport at a gate at the Ottawa Airport

Forget about a Canada 150 hangover – 2018 is shaping up to be a landmark year for the Ottawa International Airport (YOW).

The airport recently released new passenger figures, which include an 8.7-per-cent jump in July over the same month last year.

“Our passenger volumes are a barometer of sorts for the local economy,” says Mark Laroche, the president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “Ottawa-Gatineau is enjoying positive economic growth, which is reflected in increased air travel to and from YOW.”

Between 2016 and 2017, the airport saw its passenger numbers increase 1.9 per cent. That’s accelerated in 2018, with year-to-date traffic up 4.4 per cent.

The airport attributes this year’s increase in part to airlines adding more seats on flights servicing other major urban centres, such as Vancouver, Chicago, Newark, Edmonton, Toronto, Washington DC, Calgary, Halifax and Boston.

“After several years of modest growth, I am encouraged by this upward trend, and look forward to continued gains as the summer travel season transitions to the winter charter season with flights to new sunshine destinations in Mexico, as well as a broad range of other sun destinations in the southern United States and the Caribbean,” says Laroche.

New destinations

A common misconception among passengers is that an airport determines the destinations it serves. In fact, airlines decide routes based on their network strategy, which is driven by passenger demand and yield – how many people want to fly to/from a destination and how much are they willing to pay for a ticket?

“We work with partners such as Ottawa Tourism, Tourisme Outaouais, the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, the Ottawa Board of Trade, Chambre de Commerce de Gatineau, Invest Ottawa and
the Shaw Centre, to name a few, to make Canada’s Capital Region a great destination and place to live, work and play. When airlines see YOW passenger volumes growing, it encourages them to consider more non-stop flights to/from Ottawa,” says Laroche.