Nova Scotia-based helicopter operator Celtic Air Services (Port Hawkesbury) intends to expand its fixed-wing fleet of Cessna Aircraft Company aircraft, after acquiring Quebec-based air charter operator AxAir Aviation early last year, according to information on the company website.

Celtic Air Services operates the private Sydney, NS airport on Cape Breton Island, not far from Cabot Cape Breton and top-ranked golf courses.

With major airlines such as Air Canada (AC, Montréal Trudeau) and WestJet (WS, Calgary) pulling out of thinner regional routes due to COVID-19, Celtic Air Services has found a market gap for growing fixed-wing air charter services out of Cape Brenton in Atlantic Canada and the Eastern United States, says president Dave Morgan. He told CBC News Celtic Air Services always planned to add fixed-wing charters to its business. With the pandemic having grounded Air Canada and WestJet scheduled flights out of Sydney airport, a market opportunity opened up that he couldn't pass up. "The major airlines pulling out of a lot of spots and cutting down on their regional flights definitely played into our hands," he said.

With the 100% acquisition of Axair Aviation, located in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec - a company with annual revenue of USD0.94 million – Celtic Air acquired a five-seater Cessna (twin piston) 421B. The company is awaiting regulatory approval from Transport Canada and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), according to a notice on its website.

However, Morgan is already planning to add another aircraft and more pilots as the business takes off. "The goal is definitely to add to the fleet and consider where the market leads us as we go. We definitely think that it's going to be a bigger plane next," he says.

He expects to be flying into northern Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and the eastern US. "We're a Cape Breton company, so for now, we're eyeing up Cape Breton airports, be it Sydney, NS and Hawkesbury (YPS) for now," he said. "In the summer, we can get into some of the smaller airports, as well."

Celtic Air Services took over operations at the Allan J. MacEachen Airport in Port Hawkesbury, Novia Scotia, in 2017 and began offering helicopter tours in the region two years later. The company has nine employees.

AxAir Aviation was founded in 2013 by the late Quebec-born singer and comedian Michel Pascal.