YOW sees passenger volume, financial results improve in 2023


More than four million passengers travelled through the Ottawa International Airport in 2023, a 37-per-cent increase over the previous year. 

In a press release Monday, the Ottawa International Airport Authority said international travel saw the biggest boost last year, as tourism continued to recover from pandemic-era restrictions. More than 316,000 passengers came through YOW, an increase of 241 per cent from 2022. 

Domestic travel was up 18 per cent to 3.2 million, and transborder travel (between Canada and the U.S.) was up 203 per cent to 576,000. 

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

According to the release, passenger volumes in 2023 reached 80 per cent of the volumes reported pre-pandemic in 2019. 

The airport’s financial position also improved, the authority reported. 

Revenues were 30 per cent higher than 2022, at $145.6 million. The airport reported earnings before depreciation of $40 million, compared to $25.7 million in 2022. Net earnings after depreciation of $10.8 million were recorded, compared to a loss of $4.8 million in 2022. 

“I’m so pleased to see our passenger volume building back and our finances turned around. After several years of fiscal restraint and hardship due to the effects of the pandemic, it’s wonderful to be operating with positive earnings,” said airport authority president and CEO Mark Laroche.

“In addition to returning to vital projects that had been on hold and addressing capacity restraints, continued strong earnings and cash flow trends will allow the authority to set aside the funds necessary to repay pandemic debt of $100 million.”

All earnings are retained and reinvested in airport operations and development, including investment in capital assets, to meet ongoing operating requirements, the authority said.

The airport authority also said it supports last week’s budget announcement that the federal government is considering additional investment tools to maintain and modernize airports such as YOW. “Allowing Canadian pension funds to contribute directly to improving the country’s airports aligns well with securing retirees’ financial future by providing stable, long-term results,” the authority said in the release.

Last week, the airport’s S&P Global rating was upgraded from A to A+, an improvement credited to recovering passenger volumes and earnings and credit metrics. 

“We are pleased to see that our focused efforts on financial sustainability through strong passenger recovery trends, positive earnings and track record of systematic debt reduction are being recognized through the recent upgrade in our S&P Global rating from A to A+,” said Deanna Monaghan, chair of the audit committee of the airport authority’s board of directors.

In January, YOW spokesperson Krista Kealey told OBJ that passenger volumes for 2024 are expected to reach pre-pandemic levels, led by new offerings from Porter Airlines and Air France. 

“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,” said Kealey at the time. 

She added that international tourism has been the biggest traffic driver, though business travel continues to lag leisure travel.

Get our email newsletters

Get up-to-date news about the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Ottawa and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.