United Airlines joins Porter, Air France in upping service to Ottawa airport

united airlines

United Airlines is increasing its flights between Ottawa and Washington, D.C. this spring, a spokesperson from the company says. 

Starting in April, the company will fly three times daily between Dulles International Airport (IAD) and the Ottawa International Airport (YOW), according to spokesperson Brian Hammel. That’s up from two flights daily currently. 

In a recent press release, the U.S.-based carrier said it was expanding flights to multiple destinations across the country in a bid to bolster its presence in Canada. 

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The company unveiled a number of summer flights to 100 new destinations across the U.S. and Canada and outlined plans to “strengthen its position as the largest U.S. carrier to Canada, offering the most flights to the most destinations.”

This summer, United said it will serve a total of nine Canadian cities with more than 150 daily flights. 

United Airlines is currently the only U.S.-based carrier that operates through Ottawa, according to YOW spokesperson Krista Kealey. 

In a statement to OBJ, Kealey said United is “doing well with service to Washington-Dulles, Newark, and Chicago-O’Hare.”

According to Kealey, the Ottawa airport continues to recover from the pandemic, with passenger volumes expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this year. 

“We’re at about 80 per cent of pre-pandemic volumes and tracking to reach our pre-pandemic peak of 5.1 million in 2024,” says Kealey. 

Transborder travel, meaning flights between YOW and U.S. destinations, grew 202 per cent in 2023 from 2022, with 576,133 passengers. In the years leading up to the pandemic, the airport recorded between 647,000 and 720,000 annual transborder passengers through Ottawa. 

United is not the only airline with plans to expand in 2024. 

Air France is expected to boost the frequency of its direct Ottawa-Paris route from five times weekly to daily this summer. 

Porter Airlines, which Kealey called “YOW’s fastest growing carrier,” also intends to continue expanding its offerings throughout the year, she said.

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