2018 In Review

To pursue excellence

Finding new and better ways to engage with our customers, employees, campus partners, and airport stakeholders all contribute to our pursuit of excellence. Engagement with these groups happens during meaningful conversation, by following up on comments and complaints, by sharing news and by never taking our collective eyes off the goal of ensuring a positive customer experience.



Reaching the 5 million passenger mark, coupled with the growing needs of the city and region, means that the airport must also evolve. Our clients demand modernized and more diverse amenities, improved access, added convenience, and more choice. To meet these needs, the Authority is set to embark on a multi-year, multi-phased project that will transform and enhance the airport the customer experience, and Ottawa’s image as a world-class city and destination. Phases of the project include:

  • Pre-board screening;
  • Concessions;
  • Airport Hotel; and
  • Light Rail Transit Station.

Because construction will affect multiple areas of the terminal, and there will be an impact to the existing travel process, the Authority has launched the YOW+ marketing and awareness campaign to provide our clients and campus employees with up-to-date information. Through YOW+, the Authority will provide information about each project, what is changing, how passengers will be affected at various points in the project, and what they can look forward to once each is complete. The campaign will evolve to include creative executions in the terminal using construction hoarding, wayfinding signage, and on the campaign website: www.yow.ca/yow+, to name a few.

Service is Golden

Early March of this year brought the great news that YOW had retained it’s 1st place title for customer satisfaction in 2018 for airports in North America that serve between 2 and 5 million passengers per year in the Airports Council International (ACI) Airport Service Quality (ASQ) customer satisfaction benchmarking program. YOW was among 376 airports in more than 90 countries around the world that surveyed departing passengers to measure 34 key performance indicators.

Earning top spot was a major accomplishment. Keeping it is confirmation that the entire airport community remained committed to providing gold standard service to its passengers throughout the year. It could not have been done without every individual, volunteer and organization that played a role in this important achievement.

Heartfelt thanks to the passengers whose feedback acknowledged the effort. The airport community will keep striving to ensure a friendly, efficient curb to cabin experience, in an inviting, well-appointed airport environment. And, as the projects in the YOW+ program are launched, every effort possible will be made to minimize any disruption or change that might impact the customer experience.

Top Flight Employees of the Year, Lyann Lemieux and Lianne Degen

Top Flight

The Authority launched the Top Flight employee recognition program in 2013 as a tool for employees to recognize outstanding acts by their co-workers. Authority employees review the nominations and vote for the nominee they think is most worthy for the Employee of the Year each December.

In August, a colleague in the Authority’s Administration office suffered a life-threatening medical episode at her desk. Thanks to the early intervention of several of her co-workers, she survived and came back to work in November. Two Authority employees were nominated for their response to the emergency. Lianne Degen, Operations Responder, and Lyann Lemieux, Operations Responder, in training at the time, administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and used a portable automated external defibrillator (AED) until the airport’s Emergency Response Service and Ottawa Paramedic Service personnel took over rescue efforts.

As the nomination stated, “although it may be part of their job responsibilities to be first aid providers, in this case, they both stepped up above and beyond in order to save her life…they have both proven a true passion and commitment for helping others.” Congratulations to Lianne and Lyann!

New Airport Website

The Authority launched its new, fully accessible website in July. We streamlined content and presented it in a more intuitive layout, resulting in positive feedback from passengers and partners. The site, which had nearly 1,675,000 visits last year is the go-to source of flight information, parking options and online booking, and career opportunities across the campus, to name a few of the more popular pages.


The airport is fortunate to have more than 85 kind and caring individuals who volunteer their time to ensure that visitors and passengers who pass through YOW are welcomed and offered the assistance they might need. From answering questions about attractions in the region to providing assistance with hotel rooms or ground transportation options, the Infoguide volunteers go above and beyond everyday and are excellent ambassadors for Ottawa-Gatineau and the airport. In 2018, they volunteered more than 7,500 hours at information kiosks in Arrivals and Departures.

We celebrated many volunteer milestones in 2018: 11 marked 15 years with the program, two celebrated 20, and one reached the incredible 25-year mark! The entire airport community applauds our fearless volunteers!

Infoguide volunteers Kathy Mitchell, Lorraine Rooney, Maria Beaulne and Maura Giuliani

Airport Activity Book

The Authority recently collaborated with local artist Jennifer Nicol to create a new airport activity book that chronicles a class trip to Toronto. As Professor Uplands explains the airport process, he also introduces the students to many of the airport’s iconic features and their historical significance, including the water feature, birchbark canoe, and Inukshuk. As kids colour their way through the airport, they learn about various elements of the travel process such as check-in and baggage handling, NAV CANADA’s control tower and parts of an aircraft. Activity books are available at both of the airport’s information kiosks, located in Arrivals and Departures.