The Ottawa International Airport Authority is making it easier – and more cost efficient – for travellers to depart directly from the capital thanks to a new parking program.
From now until December 31, 2021 passengers can park at the airport for one dollar a day for as long as two weeks.
“The Ottawa Airport doesn’t control airfares, or schedules, so this was our way of stimulating the use of returning flights,” says Mark Laroche, the president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “For so many months we asked people to stay at home, or only travel if it was essential. Now, as long as it remains safe to do so, we are asking residents to come fly with us again.”
Users can reserve a spot online prior to their trip, ensuring a smooth experience the day of departure.
Airport officials say the program is designed to thank passengers for their patience and cooperation throughout the pandemic, and will serve as an incentive for travellers to keep the Ottawa airport in their plans.
Since the start of the pandemic, YOW has seen a major decrease in non-stop flights servicing the capital – from 45 pre-COVID down to a low of four at the peak of the pandemic.
While that number has increased slightly over the past few months – YOW currently offers non-stop flights to 16 destinations – the service will only grow if the airlines see demand, says Laroche.
The return to air travel
The initiative comes as leisure travel rates in Canada slowly rebound and pandemic restrictions are eased.
In July, the Ottawa airport saw double the domestic passenger traffic it did the month prior, with more than 100,000 travellers passing through its doors – the highest number this year.
While the increase is a positive sign for the airport, it remains a long way from the five million passengers that travelled through YOW in 2019, a reminder that local residents can have a direct impact on the sector’s recovery, says Laroche.
“We are making it easier for travellers to book a flight out of Ottawa instead of making the drive to Montreal or Toronto,” says Laroche. “The more local residents make use of the routes serving the capital, the stronger the business case becomes for the airlines to resume more non-stop flights from YOW.”