Ottawa airport surpasses 5M annual passengers for the first time


The Ottawa International Airport cracked a coveted milestone this past year as more than five million passengers walked through its gates over the course of 2018.

The local airport authority says it passed the five million mark on Dec. 23 and finished the year with 5,110,801 travellers, up 5.6 per cent from 2017. The total number of passengers passing through YOW has been steadily rising for more than a decade, but the leap from 2017 to 2018 is the largest in recent years.

While an increase in domestic travellers accounted for most of the growth – up 4.9 per cent to roughly four million passengers this past year – the Ottawa airport also saw gains in transborder and international travel, reversing multi-year declines in both segments.

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Roughly 721,000 passengers traveled to and from the United States through Ottawa in 2018, an increase of 11.3 per cent year-over-year. Airlines have recently been adding additional routes to the U.S. from Ottawa, with Sunwing announcing last month for example that it would start offering seasonal flights to Miami.

The volume of international travelers was up just 2.5 per cent, but that’s the first growth the segment has seen in five years.

Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, said in a statement that the five-million milestone is as much an achievement for the wider capital region as it is for the airport.

“The distinction puts YOW in the next class of airport in terms of size, but more importantly, confirms that the local economy is doing well,” he said.

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