Sunday, May 26, 2024

‘We weathered some rough storms over the years’: Ottawa airport shares 2023 accomplishments

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The Ottawa International Airport Authority (YOW) says 2023 was a successful year, citing the contribution of multiple factors, including flight expansions, revenue and the number of passengers.

YOW’s authority shared the airport’s accomplishments in its annual public meeting on Wednesday, noting that it welcomed 4.1 million passengers last year and generated net earnings of $10.6 million.

Porter Airlines not only “put its new Embraer E195-E2 jets into service at YOW,” but also introduced its “150,000 sq. ft. hangar construction project,” says YOW.

Meanwhile, the airport expanded international flying after Air France started its direct flights to Ottawa.

YOW adds Germain Hotels started the construction of the Alt Hotel Ottawa Airport, while The Canal Market Hall food court and Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery opened the same year.

The construction of “the airport station and integration with of with the City of Ottawa’s platform and light rail transit (LRT) Airport spur was completed” in 2023.

Finally, YOW created an Accountability Management System in partnership with Edmonton Airport Authority, says the airport.

The airport authority says it has a number of projects on the agenda for 2024.

It is looking to build a solar farm with up to 250-thousand solar panels to help it achieve net-zero by 2040 or earlier.

“We will be introducing more electric vehicles to our fleet and will roll out additional charging stationacs across the airport campus,” said Bonnie Boretsky, chair of the board of YOW.

“Based on similar sized projects, our preliminary estimates is that approximately 250,000 solar panels could be installed on different parcels of land. The energy produced by this large solar generation plant would provide the equivalent electricity required by more than 20, 000 households.”

“I am confident that with the right partners and the support of the community, we can table a very attractive proposal in our effort to secure a power purchase agreement from the Province of Ontario’s independent electricity system operator.”

President, CEO Mark Laroche calls it a career

During the annual meeting, president and CEO Mark Laroche announced his plan to retire.

“After 12 years leading the airport authority, I have made the difficult decision to retire. These years have been incredibly rewarding and challenging. I’m proud of the accomplishments we have achieved as a team and I’m grateful for the support I’ve received from the Board of Directors, city officials, and, of course, the entire Airport Authority team,” Laroche said.

“We weathered some rough storms over the years, including the pandemic and economic instability, but YOW continues to thrive and contribute to the economic well-being of the Region and will for decades to come.”

The announcement sparked feedback for his contribution towards Ottawa’s development.

“Thank you for your leadership through the unprecedented challenging times of the pandemic, and for your constant commitment to improving this regional economic engine. The Government of Canada has always been pleased to partner with you to help bring the LRT to the Airport, advance safety, build infrastructure, and expand passenger and cargo capacity,” said Ottawa South MP David McGuinty.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe says though the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult to tackle, Laroche’s leadership skills were able to not only face the hardship, but also contributed to the growth of the airport.

“During Mark’s time as CEO, the Airport has grown significantly, tackled significant challenges including the global pandemic, and positioned itself for an outstanding future. Mark, very heartfelt congratulations on your retirement and best of luck in the future!” Sutcliffe added.

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