As Chair of the Ottawa International Airport Authority’s Board of Directors, I have the opportunity to work with an incredible group of Directors who give their time and talent for the benefit of the airport and the community. Appointed by various organizations in Canada’s Capital Region as well as all three levels of government, Directors offer diversity of ideas and important local insight that I believe serve us all well. I would like to thank each and every Director for sharing their time, their talent and for ensuring that the community is carefully considered in all governance activities.
As Board terms come to an end, we must say farewell to cherished colleagues. In 2016, we said goodbye to Barbara Farber, who was appointed At Large in 2007 and then by the City of Ottawa in 2010. Barbara, who served the maximum nine years, generously shared her extensive experience in land development, and we thank her for her contribution and service.
We had the opportunity to welcome two new Directors to the group in 2016 as well. We were joined by Dick Brown, who was appointed by Ottawa Tourism, and Lisa Stilborn, who was appointed by the City of Ottawa. Dick brings a long and distinguished career in hospitality and tourism to the Board, which complements the Authority’s commitment to stimulating even greater local tourism and economic development. Lisa’s background in public affairs is a valuable asset as the Authority further broadens its stakeholder engagement reach on important files in the coming months and years. I know I speak on behalf of the entire Board when I say I am looking forward to working with both Dick and Lisa in support of management’s efforts to move the Strategic Plan forward.
When I am at meetings or events in the region, I inevitably hear from friends and colleagues how much they love our airport, which makes me enormously proud. I am always pleased to share, with confidence, how committed the entire airport community is to providing our passengers with an outstanding travel experience, each and every time. While the anecdotal feedback is welcome, it’s also gratifying to understand it in more quantifiable terms. Again in 2016, the airport participated in Airports Council International’s Airport Service Quality Customer Service Benchmarking Program with approximately 250 airports worldwide, and I am delighted to share the results. For the 10th year in a row, the Ottawa International Airport was recognized – this time in two categories: 2nd place – Best Airport by Region (North America serving more than 2 million passengers) and 3rd place – Best Airport by Size (worldwide serving 2-5 million passengers). What an incredible testament to the entire airport team!
As mentioned, stimulating economic development and tourism are priorities for the Authority. In that regard, the management team is working on a few files that are critical to the future of the airport and the region. Light Rail Transit (LRT) is one that has been active in various forms since 2003, but has been in the spotlight again for the past few years as the team has been advocating for an airport link in LRT Stage 2. Their efforts have been generating positive results, and I am thrilled that the airport has been included.
Another critical file that you will read more about in Mark Laroche’s remarks deals with airport “profitization”. For several months, the federal government has been contemplating selling airports to for-profit entities with the goal of raising funds for non-aviation-related projects across the country. After many years of building world class, safe and secure airport facilities that generate tremendous regional economic activity, the sale of our lands and dismantlement of the current not-for-profit model would not be in the best interest of the Authority or its stakeholders.
The Authority’s Vision is to be the world class gateway for Canada’s Capital Region and an economic engine that drives prosperity for our community. We make decisions and take action with our community’s interest in mind, and we want that level of commitment to continue. Maintaining the current governance model will ensure that the Authority can continue to play a leadership role in areas such as airport safety and security, environmental stewardship, and employee engagement. It will also ensure that your airport continues to act in the best interest of your community in the future, rather than focusing on shareholder return.
Speaking of community, 2017 is going to be an amazing year as Canada turns 150 years old. The region will play host to many exciting events throughout the year, and the Ottawa Airport will be the premier gateway for visitors from across the country and further afield. To mark this year-long celebration, the Authority entered into an in-kind partnership with Ottawa 2017 to provide a vast array of real estate in and around the terminal to display pageantry in support of the various events that will come to our city throughout the year. We look forward to welcoming our visitors, and trust they will discover what makes Ottawa-Gatineau an amazing place to live, work, and play. Of course, they will want to plan a return visit with family and friends in the future.
I have barely scratched the surface of what was accomplished in 2016 thanks to the commitment and dedication of the entire Authority team. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Mark and his management team for their leadership, and I look forward to their continued success in 2017 as the files I mentioned continue to evolve and shape the future of the airport.
The Ottawa International Airport is the gateway into Canada’s Capital, and it has provided the backdrop to so many wonderful reunions, photos and stories over the years. We have tried to capture a few of those stories in this report to give you a peek into the kinds of things that happen at the airport on any given day and what they mean to the people involved. I hope you enjoy them, and that you have the opportunity to create some special memories of your own at our airport – perhaps you already have.
Susan St. Amand,
Chair of the Board of Directors