Release date: 
24 August 1998 :00am
Ottawa -- The local Airport Authority began management of the Ottawa International Airport in February 1997, and for 18 months has been clearly focused on meeting the needs of the Region's air travellers and airport customers.

Since the transfer of the Ottawa International Airport from Transport Canada, Airport Authority President and CEO Paul Benoit points to the fact that the Airport Authority is customer-oriented. "Our objective is to provide for the needs of the Region's air travellers and to exceed our customers' expectations. From when people park and take their luggage to the ticket counters, to when they are walking the loading bridges onto their flights, we want to ensure their time at the terminal is comfortable and stress-free."

This, in part, accounts for the new level of service being offered to travellers and customers at the airport. Yet, while the Airport Authority is emphasizing a new "customer-first" approach to service, it is also scrambling to meet the needs of the travellers. Mr. Benoit says, "The Authority has spent a great deal of time catching up and transforming a facility that had deteriorated over the years. We've invested over $11 million into the facilities to meet the existing needs of the Region and bring the terminal building up to an appropriate standard."

There is a list of changes over the 18 month period. There was a $3 million expenditure for a new preclearance facility in the first five months of the Authority's mandate. There are new retail concessions, new washrooms, repaved roads into the terminal, a new parking system to be introduced this fall, new services to ease handicap accessibility, and the Authority has begun a $5-6 million capital improvement to the runways and airside operations.

On Wednesday, at the airport, there is a special celebration to mark the unveiling of new food and retail concessions. CARA Foods and The UCS Group have spent $2 million in renovating and building new stores. The ceremony begins at 12:15 pm in the air terminal building.

"Our Region is growing and it is important for the airport to provide quality air services to meet the needs of the Region's business and its residents." Mr. Benoit adds, "Just as the rapid construction of the preclearance facility opened access to US markets for our local high tech community, we want to be able to provide for all our local customers, and for those travelling to our Region."

With the Master Plan approval anticipated by the Board of Directors in late September, the Airport Authority's President and CEO is looking to future changes to the air terminal building. "The terminal needs to be redeveloped because it cannot respond to existing and growing needs of the customers. With the Master Plan recommendations for an expanded air terminal building, the Airport Authority is ready to respond to the challenges of our dynamic Region. We will remain, first and foremost, focused on the customers' needs."

Further Information:
Paul Benoit, President and CEO