The airport of Canada’s capital Ottawa (YOW/CYOW) is located 10 km south of the city center. It is named after the founders of Canada John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier. 4,8 million passengers made it the sixth busiest airport of Canada in 2017.
Main traffic is domestic and regional plus some international connections to the US. Intercontinental services are offered to London-Heathrow and Frankfurt. Additionally several seasonal charter services are available to Florida, Mexico and the Carribbean. YOW is the home base for First Air. Main carrier is Air Canada and it’s regional division Air Canada Express. Also Westjet, Porter, American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express offer connections. Flights to the nothern part of Canada are handled by Canadian North and First Air. Air Transat and Sunwing can be seen on seasonal charter services. Besides the combined cargo/passenger flights by Canadian North and First Air regular cargo visitors are Cargojet and FedEx. Here is the estest part of Canada where you can find some Air North flights.
Cargojet parks at First air hanger. RCMP does have a small hanger next to the NRC (fleet includes C208 and PC12). The military apron (big hanger next to apron along runway 25) is where RCAF CL60 and Transport Canada parks.
The CRC (or Hanger 11) next to the apron along runway 14 is mainly where VIPs park and heavy militaries (like RCAF CC150, C130 etc..)
De-ice pad is not spotter friendly, you will be asked to leave so don’t stay long.
The airport can be reached by car from Ottawa city center in approximately 20 minutes using route 79. Also from the city center bus 97 runs in 30 minutes to the terminal.
Written by Marcus (visited August 2018) last update by Tombarelli Federico July 2019
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| (7 votes, average: 3.43 out of 5)
|04/22||1.006 m (3.300 ft) Asphalt|
|07/25||2.438 m (8.000 ft) Asphalt|
|14/32||3.048m (10.005 ft) Asphalt|
|Terminals||One for all operations.|
|Ladder||Needed at a few spots.|
|Car/Public Transport||Car is needed, without one most spots are out of reach.|
|Restrooms||Can be found in the restaurants and in the terminal.|
|Drinks/Food||Inside the terminal or at the restaurants around.|
|Hotels||Around the airport are some hotels. Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport offers views of runway 07/25.|
|Season||Winters are very cold with snow, best time is from May to September.|
|Security||Security is VERY tight at the Ottawa airport and spotting anywhere besides the roads listed in this guide is highly frowned upon by airport authority and security even if you have received permission to take photos there and could result in you being kicked out or asked to stop taking photos. The biggest places to stay away from while spotting are, anywhere near the terminal, inside the terminal, de-icing, long-term and overnight parking, the bridge leading up to the terminal, the terminal parking lot, Skyservice, any of the RCAF hangars/parking, and anywhere in between Adastra road and the fire truck station.
Most other spots should have no issue but be prepared to be asked by the Airport Authority to move or stop taking photos, in the unlikely event they have an issue. The only locations that are guaranteed to have no issue are spots, 1 (Airport Viewing Area), 4 (Anywhere on Leitrim), and 5 & 6 (Not owned by the airport)
|04/22||Only used by small props of the nearby ottawa flying club.|
|07/25||The main runway is the 07/25. Used for take offs and landings in both directions.|
|14/32||Used for take offs and landings in both directions. This runway will be used if pilot recommends (usually the YVR flight takes that runway as it is longer).|
|Spot #1 – Alert Road – Runway 25|
|WHERE||This spot is just by the roadside of Alert Road. Just park your car on the gravel surface. The spot is close to the Hilton Garden Hotel and can be reached after a short walk.|
|WHAT||Landings on runway 25. Directly from the fence also 25 departures are possible through the mesh or by using a ladder. 07 departures might be already too high.|
|TIME||Only in summer after 17:00|
|MISC.||Take with you whatever you need. There is nothing around.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||763=40mm; Dash8-Q400=80mm;|
|Spot #2 – Alert Road near Golf Course – Runway 07/25|
|WHERE||Drive further from spot 1 passing the runway lights. Close to a golf course the only official spotting location can be found. A parking lot for 7 to 8 cars next to the fence offer good views. Few meters from the parking lot the fence is lowered due to a depression. So no ladder is needed. In general you can positon yourself all along this road just watch where you park as there are no parking signs along the roads however the police usually don’t make a fuss. Access from Leitram Road is not possible.|
|WHAT||All activities on the runway 07/25 can be seen.|
|TIME||Early morning until 15:00|
|MISC.||There is nothing around, so bring food and water. Be smarter than others and use the garbage can for your trash. There is not a lot of clearance between you and the road when you park so watch out for oncoming traffic.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||150mm for A320|
|Spot #3 – Adastra Road – Runway 32
|WHERE||Move further from spot 2. This is the only way to access this spot. Access from Leitram Road is not possible.|
|WHAT||Line up and landings on runway 32 can be seen|
|TIME||Line up until 10:00, runway movements early mornings only in summer|
|MISC.||Pictures through the fence are possible, but better use a ladder. Don’t stay too long here as you might be asked to leave in case security passes by. Stay at spot 2 and only drive for specific movements to this spot.|
|FOCAL LENGTH||100mm for A320 in line up; 200mm Dash arrival|
|Spot #4 – Leitrim Road – Runway 32 Landings
|WHERE||Move on Leitrim Road until you can see the runway lights. You aren’t allowed to stop on the road or on the side; you will get a ticket if a cop passes. The easiest thing to do is park on alert road and walk down Leitrim (on the grass). It takes no more than 5m (max 10m to get to the complete other side).|
|WHAT||Arrivals on runway 32.|
|TIME||From noon till around 18:00.|
|MISC.||This was a pretty famous spot in the past until it was closed and fenced off as it was used as an illegal dump by some idiots. Still you can stop here for taking pictures but don’t stay too long as it is now a no-parking zone.|
|Spot #5 – Riverside Road – Runway 14
|WHERE||From Riverside / Limebank Road turn into River Road and park your car in Lewer Street. From there take a short walk to the airport fence.|
|WHAT||Landings and line ups on runway 14|
|TIME||From noon till 18:00|
|MISC.||Nothing nearby. You can take pictures through the mesh. Or take a ladder with you.|
|Spot #6 – Shopping Center – Line Up 14
|WHERE||This spot is located at a shopping center at Riverside / Hunt Club Road. You can park you car directly at the airport fence.|
|WHAT||Line up to runway 14. Also the short runway for small aircraft can be seen here.|
|TIME||In summer late evening till sunset.|
|MISC.||Several restaurants and a supermarket within 100 meters.|
We can´t provide sample pictures at the moment so please don´t hesitate to send us your photos from this location by using our contact form!