Designs of future airport complete: Ottawa Airport begins construction

Release date: 
1 May 2001 :00am
OTTAWA (May 1, 2001) - Construction crews begin work this month on a three-year, $300 million dollar expansion for Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport.

"We will begin construction within days on a project that is practical, affordable and necessary," said Paul Benoit, President and CEO of the airport authority. "This airport expansion project will lead to better service for the community now and in the future."

Benoit announced the airport will formally launch construction with a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, May 18th.

A new terminal building and parking structure will be built during the first phase of the airport expansion, scheduled for completion in spring 2004. The expansion will provide relief for Ottawa International Airport, which is already operating well over capacity.

Designs released today for the new terminal building show a modern, efficient three-storey structure that will speed the transfer between air and ground transportation. The building's open-concept design will allow passengers to see aircraft right from the time they enter the terminal, and to see their route through the security check and departure lounge.

Arrival and departures will be on different levels of the new building to reduce congestion. And international travellers will benefit from an expanded Canada Customs and U.S. Customs pre-clearance.

"This will be an attractive and functional airport our community can be proud of," said Benoit. "The project is self-financed and no government subsidies will be used."

The construction project will be carried out in three phases. Phase 1 will have the new terminal and parking areas operational by spring 2004. Phase 2 will remove the current terminal and extend the new one over its footprint by 2010. The final phase planned for 2014 will expand the terminal and parking areas and add more aircraft gates.

The current airport terminal, built 40 years ago, provided an important gateway between Canadians and their national capital. But the terminal now operates far above its design capacity. Last year it handled 3.4 million passengers - about 30% more than the peak of 2.6 million that was expected when the terminal was last renovated in 1987.

"This project is the result of a planning process that goes back to 1997, said Benoit, when the airport authority began managing these facilities. The planning has been rigorous."

Benoit said that parking will be tighter than usual in some lots but will expand in others. Electronic signs along the airport roads will guide travellers to the available parking areas. Even so, said Benoit, "travellers should arrive earlier than usual to meet flights."

The existing terminal will continue to operate as usual during Phase 1.

OMCIAA operates Ottawa International Airport without tax dollars under a 60-year lease transfer agreement with Transport Canada. The Authority's mandate is to manage, operate and develop Airport facilities and lands in support of the economic growth of the National Capital Region. Its 40-year old terminal building was last expanded in 1987. Since that time, passenger traffic has increased over 40%.


Laurent Benoit, (613) 248-2050
Director of Communications and Public Affairs