© 2024 Airport Experience® News​

YOW’s Laroche To Retire; Airport To Expand

Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority, announced his intention to retire during the airport’s 2024 annual public meeting. 

“It was a difficult decision, but I felt the timing was right as we are on the cusp of pursuing another major terminal expansion,” Laroche said. “I will leave the authority in very capable hands and the team will ensure a smooth transition when the time comes.”

Laroche’s announcement comes at a time when Ottawa International Airport (YOW) is on an upswing. “We are recovered. Our business, however, has changed,” he said. “Whereas YOW has been a largely origin and destination airport with a greater emphasis on business travel, our passenger profile is different. We are welcoming more connecting passengers, thanks to Porter’s significant expansion. YOW is now positioned as a connection point in their network between the Atlantic and Western Canada, as well as parts of the U.S.,” he said, adding that the traveler demographics are now tipping toward leisure travelers. 

“This change in passenger profile calls for different amenities, as well as changes to our infrastructure to facilitate smooth and efficient travel and connections,” Laroche said. 

“Another phase of YOW+ revitalization is already underway,” Laroche said in the annual meeting. “Along with the new Bridgehead Coffee shop and Relay store in Arrivals, a new Starbucks and Relay store in the South end of the Canada/International gate area will open later this year. Future improvements will include the restaurant in the U.S. gate area, and the conversion of D’Arcy McGee’s to a Zak’s Diner in 2025.”

“We continue to take a long-term view of infrastructure development,” he added. “In light of the new traffic profiles that put greater emphasis on leisure travel and connecting passengers, we have launched a comprehensive series of studies aimed at assessing and forecasting growth over the next decade and beyond. We are exploring everything from optimizing existing space and new technology, to the need for additional capacity and a significant expansion program.”