THUNDER BAY — An aviation software developer headquartered in Thunder Bay is enjoying what the company calls a milestone year.
AirSuite Inc., which is Indigenous-controlled, started up at Thunder Bay Airport in 2016.
Its Cirro software program can manage most aspects of flight management operations ranging from crew scheduling to aircraft weight calculations to invoicing.
The company announced Monday that it's experienced record-high earnings in the first-quarter of its fiscal year (September through November) as well as an increase in subscribers who operate fixed-wing aircraft.
Its client list has doubled over the past three months.
According to AirSuite, it already delivers software to the majority of Canadian helicopter operators, and has become the rotary aircraft industry's preferred flight operations management system and app.
"We anticipated this rush of new Canadian clients with the new Flight Duty Times regulations coming into effect on December 12, but it's surpassed our projections," said AirSuite CEO Michael Kleywegt.
As of Dec. 12, 2022, new FDT regulations for air taxi and commuter operations mean that operators must either comply with prescriptive government regulations for managing flight crew fatigue, or propose their own systems for approval by the regulator.
The regulations include tracking hours of work, time zones, limits for single-pilot operations and more.
Cirro provides a log entry tool to track the start-times and durations of flights.
Kleywegt said the company has exceeded its sales targets for the current quarter and the upcoming quarter, and believes the upward trend will continue.
AirSuite currently has 12 employees, half of whom work in Thunder Bay.
The others work remotely from different parts of the country.
The company opened a new office on Amber Drive in August, and is already looking to expand it.
After doubling its development team earlier this year, it's now looking for two more developers and two support staff.
"We're increasing the support and development teams to keep pace with the high-quality service our clients are accustomed to," Kleywegt said. "For example, with more demand from the fixed-wing operators we're now serving aircraft fleets that include De Havilland, Beechcraft, Metroliner, Cessna and Pilatus."
Company COO Doug Carlson said the uptick that the company is enjoying is indicative of a boom in the industry overall.
"Aviation is busier than it was in pre-pandemic peak times," Carlson said. "The pandemic also accelerated cloud adoption [cloud-based computing}, and our surge reflects those trends. It's definitely a milestone year here at AirSuite."
AirSuite was recently granted membership in the Air Transportation Association of Canada and the Canadian Business Aviation Association.