Porter Airlines and Ottawa International Airport (YOW) Celebrate Grand Opening of Aircraft Maintenance Base

May 22, 2024
YOW will be a primary maintenance base for Porter, with 200 local team members being hired to support its operation. This includes 160 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs), plus shop technicians, stores clerks and administrative support.

Porter Aviation Holdings Inc. (PAHI), parent company of Porter Airlines, and the Ottawa International Airport Authority (OIAA) are celebrating the grand opening of Porter’s YOW aircraft hangars and maintenance base. 

The two aircraft hangars are approximately 150,000 sq. ft. in combined size, supporting the maintenance of Porter’s growing Embraer E195-E2 fleet and existing De Havilland Dash 8-400s. The airline has up to 100 E195-E2s on order, with 33 currently in service. The Dash 8-400 fleet totals 29 aircraft. 

OIAA has constructed a new taxiway and related infrastructure to support the hangar development. The growth at the airport represents a combined $125 million investment in YOW’s future. 

YOW will be a primary maintenance base for Porter, with 200 local team members being hired to support its operation. This includes 160 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers (AMEs), plus shop technicians, stores clerks and administrative support. These represent highly skilled roles that will be based in the city.

To support this endeavor, Porter and Algonquin College are establishing a long-term strategic partnership to enhance work-integrated learning opportunities across all areas of the business, and to support program development and training, with specific activities taking place at the Ottawa hangars. Notable programs at Algonquin College include Aircraft Maintenance Technician and Aviation Management. These initiatives are designed to align with the growing needs of the aviation industry and demonstrate the shared commitment to the future of aviation professionals. 

Ottawa is Porter’s fastest-growing market outside of Toronto, feeding into the airline’s strong Eastern Canada network and its growing western markets. This summer, Porter will offer more daily flights from YOW than any other carrier, with 16 non-stop routes and approximately two million passengers travelling through YOW in 2024. By the end of this year, Porter expects to employ more than 400 team members in Ottawa, representing customer service, pilots, flight attendants and maintenance.

OIAA invested $15 million constructing Taxiway Romeo in the airport’s north field area. This represents the first airside expansion project in the OIAA’s 20-year history. It accommodates Porter’s hangar development, as well as future federal government needs, and other commercial aviation-related development.

“The investments we are making in the new aircraft hangars and local hiring are foundational to Porter’s future in Ottawa. Porter’s presence at YOW has grown significantly in the past year, with new non-stop routes using both our E195s and Dash 8s, and plans to add an E195-E2 crew base at the airport. Our partnership with Algonquin College is extremely valuable for both organizations, providing us with access to local talent and giving students career opportunities that are close to home. We are meaningfully investing in Canada’s Capital Region and see more growth in its future.”

Michael Deluce, CEO, PAHI

Sustainability in Hangar Design

The hangars are designed and built with sustainability in mind, including the following features:

  • A predominantly electric fleet of vehicles that will be used for towing and servicing aircraft, as well as ground support.
  • Design criteria that exceeds current energy efficiency standards, including for insulation, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting and electrical power systems.
  • The hangars are clad in Insulated Metal Panels (IMPs). 
    • Superior to the standard metal siding usually found on aircraft hangars. 
    • The anticipated lifespan is greater than 60 years. 
    • Constructed with approximately 35% recycled steel and, at end of life, can in turn be recycled. 
    • Constructed from materials that have a low embodied carbon footprint - 28% lower than conventional tilt-up assemblies.
  • The structure spans 85.6 m (280 ft.). This substantial clear span has been achieved using prefabricated trusses. The steel tonnage to span ratio is approximately 30% less than conventional rolled steel section beams.
  • Fire protection involves dual systems. In addition to a conventional sprinkler system, the aircraft parking and maintenance areas are equipped with an instantaneous foam deluge system. In the event of a fire, the multi-layers of fire suppression do not rely on a conventional single source of water supply. The city hydrant system is fully supplemented by an onsite underground water storage tank containing approximately 1.2 million litres of water. 
  • Stormwater management has become an important factor in both commercial and industrial developments. Instead of rain/stormwater flowing directly to and overstressing existing city mains, two 173,000-litre underground tanks are being installed at the Porter hangars to capture excess.

The hangars are designed by Scott Associates Architects, with PCL Construction acting as Construction Manager, together with Span Construction & Engineering.

“Porter Airlines’ commitment to YOW is transformational for Canada’s Capital Region, and the community will reap the economic and social benefits for decades. Today’s hangar opening celebration demonstrates how being an airline’s hub airport creates new levels of prosperity and connectivity.”

Mark Laroche, president and CEO, OIAA

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Samuel Corum/AFP via Getty Images/TNS