Ottawa Airport expansion cleared for takeoff - $140M new terminal to open Spring 2004

Release date: 
26 October 2000 :00am
Ottawa, Ontario - Regis Trudel, Chairman of the 15-member, community-based Board of Directors of the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority, today announced the Board's unanimous decision to proceed with a major expansion plan for the Ottawa Airport.

"By the spring of 2004 at the very latest, the gateway to Canada's fastest growing local economy will be better able to serve the needs of air travelers," said Regis Trudel. "In just three and a half years, Ottawa Airport will be much more efficient. In addition, it will have a far more impressive look and feel and offer a more welcoming environment for travelers."

"We are building for today's demand but have insisted that our chosen design offer us the flexibility to respond to future growth in the National Capital Region," said Ottawa Airport President and CEO Paul Benoit. "This expansion more than doubles present capacity, eases tensions for travelers, improve public access within the terminal and eliminates congestion at Customs, at the passenger gates and bridges, and on the aircraft taxiways."

The expansion includes the construction of a $140M passenger terminal building alongside the Airport's current, 40-year-old building. The project also includes a parking structure and extensive airside and groundside improvements totalling almost $60M. The new Combined Services Building, completed in May, contingencies and other miscellaneous project expenses raise the total estimated program cost to $300M.

The expansion is financed entirely without tax dollars. Project financing will be completely repaid from the Airport Improvement Fee introduced by the Ottawa Airport Authority in September 1999.

"This expansion plan is part of the Ottawa Airport's 'smart growth' strategy," said Mr. Trudel. "It is based on wide public consultation, careful analysis of passenger forecasts, sound planning and a series of expert peer reviews."

"We are building a modern airport for a modern city," continued Mr. Benoit. "Our biggest challenge now is to maintain existing service levels until the new terminal is ready. Before the Spring 2001 groundbreaking, the Airport will announce a rejuvenation program for the existing building to ensure that we can properly serve our customers throughout the construction period. Indeed, these improvements will remain until the Airport activates Phase 2, currently scheduled for 2010.

"We are committed to meeting the appropriate travel needs of our Region," concluded Mr. Benoit.

In recent years, Ottawa-Hull's 1.2-million population has witnessed record growth in air passenger traffic, fuelled in particular by growth in the region's high technology and tourism sectors. The Ottawa Airport currently serves 3.4 million passengers per year, some 600,000 above built capacity.

Ottawa's new, three-level passenger terminal building will be linked with the second level of the existing terminal by way of a passenger bridge. Canada Customs and the U.S. pre-clearance facilities will be expanded to accommodate exponential growth in transborder air traffic. Fifteen (15) new gates will be added to the Airport's 12 arrival and departure gates to be retained. Updated baggage-handling facilities, expanded airside aprons to ease congestion on taxiways, a new de-icing facility for aircraft, climate-controlled access to the passenger terminal from an above-ground parking garage and a realigned airport parkway approach will be constructed during this first phase of expansion.

As passenger demand and airline services dictate, a second phase of expansion is tentatively planned for completion by 2010 ($40M). A third phase is slated for 2014 ($48M), as required.

The current terminal and its access roads were last expanded in 1987.

The Ottawa Airport Authority operates Ottawa International Airport under a 60-year lease transfer agreement with Transport Canada with a mandate to manage, operate and develop Airport facilities and lands in support of the economic growth of the National Capital Region. The Authority was incorporated without share capital in 1995 and operates with annual revenues (excluding AIF revenues) totalling $33.5M. These revenues are generated exclusively through landing fees, facility leases and commercial operations.

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For additional information, please contact:
Laurent Benoit, (613) 248-2050
Director of Communications and Public Affairs