Pay­ing the bills and en­sur­ing safe skies at Ot­tawa’s air­port

Ottawa Business Journal - - GO GLOBAL -

T The Ot­tawa Mac­don­aldCartier In­ter­na­tional Air­port Author­ity (OMCIAA) is a com­plex and well-oiled ma­chine. It has to be given how en­twined its op­er­a­tions are with Trans­port Canada, other reg­u­la­tory au­thor­i­ties, law en­force­ment and bor­der ser­vices.

The air­port must main­tain its own fire de­part­ment, spe­cially trained to deal with mass­ca­su­alty events on the tar­mac and act as first re­spon­ders to nearly 200 med­i­cal calls in the ter­mi­nal each year.

Then there are the costs as­so­ci­ated with se­cu­rity at ev­ery level, to guard against ev­ery imag­in­able sce­nario.

The costs and com­plex­ity of its op­er­a­tions only es­ca­late in win­ter with ice and snow.

And the air­port is re­spon­si­ble for pay­ing for these costs from rev­enues it gen­er­ates, without re­ceiv­ing any govern­ment as­sis­tance.

That’s right: OMCIAA is not a govern­ment agency or Crown cor­po­ra­tion. It is a pri­vate, non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion re­spon­si­ble for gen­er­at­ing its own rev­enue.

Its air­port lease comes at a cost as well—last year, it paid $8.7 mil­lion in rent to the Govern­ment of Canada.

“Much of our bud­get is spent on what the pub­lic doesn’t see,” said Mark Laroche, Pres­i­dent and CEO. “We are con­stantly rein­vest­ing in the equip­ment, train­ing and in­fra­struc­ture nec­es­sary to main­tain and grow an ef­fi­cient, se­cure and world-class air­port be­fit­ting the cap­i­tal city of a G7 na­tion.”

How the air­port’s rev­enue comes and goes

Last year, the air­port gen­er­ated $118.25 mil­lion in rev­enue. About $45.4 mil­lion came from the air­port im­prove­ment fee (AIF) charged to pas­sen­gers to help fi­nance the cost of cap­i­tal im­prove­ments at the air­port. An­other $37.7 mil­lion came from the aero­nau­ti­cal rev­enues charged to car­ri­ers for land­ing and ter­mi­nal us­age.

The air­port also en­gages in a num­ber of com­mer­cial en­deav­ours to en­sure trav­ellers have the ameni­ties they ex­pect for a com­fort­able trip – from limou­sine ser­vices and re­tail, to grab­bing a cof­fee or a healthy lunch. Con­ces­sion rev­enues gen­er­ated an­other $10.9 mil­lion and car park­ing rev­enues to­talled $13.7 mil­lion.

The air­port also leases sur­plus land for com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment – this gen­er­ated an­other $6.2 mil­lion. But over $24 mil­lion was spent last year on in­ter­est alone, on out­stand­ing debt of $630.9 mil­lio. These monies were bor­rowed to fund cap­i­tal pro­grams like run­way im­prove­ments, new board­ing bridges, car­pets and new snow­clear­ing equip­ment.

Salaries and ben­e­fits ac­counted for $21.5 mil­lion, and ma­te­ri­als, sup­plies and ser­vices for an­other $31.1 mil­lion. And then there is that $8.7 mil­lion in fed­eral rent as well as pay­ments in lieu of mu­nic­i­pal taxes of $5.0 mil­lion.

“All of the rev­enues we col­lect are rein­vested in the air­port’s op­er­a­tion,” said Laroche. “This al­lows us to main­tain our com­mit­ment to pro­vid­ing our pas­sen­gers with a world-class ter­mi­nal and an ex­cep­tional cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence, and to of­fer air­lines among the low­est fees of the large air­ports in Canada.”

To learn more about YOW’s fi­nances, you can read the an­nual re­port at

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