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Striving to become a better reflection of its community

Release date: 
18 April 2000 :00am

The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority today released a list of the programs recently developed and put in place to better reflect the community and people it serves. All programs and services benefit our customers or the community at large.

Please refer to the list below and attached backgrounder to find out more about Ottawa International Airport community programs.

-Programs for Families (Aeropark, baby car seats, mother's room, colouring books)
-Charitable Giving Program (allowing local charities to collect funds from travellers)
-Education Program (Airport tours)
-Community Promotions (partnerships with community events, festivals)
-Terminal Entertainment (Musicians, artwork program)
-Customer Service (Infoguides answer 10,000 inquiries monthly; free boosting service, Anxiety program)

Ottawa Airport Authority takes an active role in two regional, community-oriented committees to promote harmony between the Airport and the community it serves in development and economic matters.

The OMCIAA/Regional/Municipal Planning and Economic Development Liaison Committee's main objectives are to encourage participation in the development of the Airport's services and facilities and ensure the safe and efficient operation of the airport.

The Noise Management Committee was established to provide a forum for the exchange of information regarding the impact of aircraft noise on residential communities surrounding the airport.

Members of the media finding interesting "human interest" stories among the programs listed above, and described in the attached backgrounder, are invited to contact Laurent Benoit, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, (613) 248-2050.

Ottawa International Airport - A Community Partner BACKGROUNDER

Programs for families
In 1999, Ottawa International became the only airport in Canada to make children's car seats available for families arriving at the Airport and requiring taxi transportation.

Also in 1999, a special, brightly decorated Mother's Room opened up for families seeking privacy and a quiet place for breastfeeding. Located in the domestic and international hold-room, the room is equipped with a change table, a rocking chairs and children's books.

Aeropark, a child's play area located in the airport's highest traffic area, is equipped with a flight control tower, spring airplanes and activity center.

A popular item with travelling families, a kids Airport colouring book is distributed by Airport staff, Infoguides and Commissionaires. A total of 9,000 books were distributed in 1999.

Charitable Giving Program
The Authority now loans space in three prominent areas of the terminal for use by local charitable organizations to mount collection displays. This enables charities, including CHEO and the Heart and Stroke Foundation to collect an average of more than $1,000 a month.

Educational Program
Each year, more than 300 students of all ages tour the Airport. In partnership with the National Aviation Museum, an innovative and educational program has been created - An Airport to Discover! The young people are invited to explore behind-the-scenes at this vast and technologically advanced facility through a series of visits, demonstrations and interactive workshops. The program is given by expert educators of the museum and has been developed with participation in mind.

As well, we have partnerships with colleges such as the Algonquin Careers Academy and La Cité collégiale where we provide a detailed airport tour for future industry employees (travel agents, airline employees etc) and provide them with important facts that a passenger should know when travelling through the airport. (I.e. Different parking options, allow enough check-in time)

Terminal entertainment
On selected days, musicians entertain travellers and greeters in the main concession area. This program was launched in 1999 in collaboration with the Music Performance Trust Fund. Another new program features performances by children from the Whitham School for the Performing Arts, l'École secondaire de la Salle and Canterbury High School.

As part of the Community Art Work Program, local artists can showcase their paintings for periods of three month before a very captive audience in the domestic departure hold-room. Bookings are based on a first-come, first-served basis and are reserved well into the year 2001.

Customer Service Program
The Infoguide helpdesk open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. answers more than 10,000 questions every month from travellers seeking general airport information. The Infoguide team comprises more than 52 volunteers, most of who are retired.

Airport Boost for Ottawa Winters, starting in 1999, passengers who arrive home from a trip in the dead of winter only to find they can't start their car can get a free boost in all airport parking lots. Passengers can borrow a portable boosting pack to get their car going, or they can call on a commissionaire to assist with the procedure.

The airport also has in place an airport anxiety program by assisting passengers with anxieties, preparing them for upcoming trips. A walk through the terminal with these passengers and providing them with information on what to expect the day they travel brings some level of comfort to them. The walkabout is done at a slow pace to give the person time to adjust to the environment and is often spread over the course of several visits.

Promoting events/Welcoming travellers
Organisers of festivals and community events now have free access to a variety of promotional media aimed at arriving visitors and regular travellers. These include indoor/outdoor banners, posters, brochures, festival displays, and an LED message board. As well, a large mobile greeting kiosk has been made available to conferences, associations, sports events, and any organisations welcoming people at the Airport.