PORT HASTINGS: With construction now underway on its new terminal building, the new ownership group that set up shop at the Port Hawkesbury Municipal Airport earlier this summer is pleased with its progress and already looking ahead to a busy fall.
Celtic Air Services Limited (CASL) unveiled in mid-August that Port Hastings-based Norvon Construction is now working on the basic infrastructure needs for the company’s new terminal building, which is being constructed by Kent Builders in Bouctouche, New Brunswick prior to its official arrival and installation at the airport located just outside the Port Hastings Rotary.
According to CASL owner-operator David Morgan, the construction process is “going swimmingly” and a grand opening is expected to take place during the first week of September. Such activities mark the latest step forward for CASL, which signed a letter of intent with the Town of Port Hawkesbury in late April to lease airport property for a new jet reception centre, including a new office and reception area along with 150,000 extra feet of additional hangar space.
“The summer has gone by really fast… All in all, it’s been a whirlwind,” Morgan told The Reporter last week.
“We see our busy season continuing into the second week of October, at this rate, based on the bookings and the calls that we’re getting. But it’s been a summer of learning a whole lot of things… We’ve had to have our feet on the ground and get our employees trained up and comfortable with the facility, with all the different systems here, and also with the level of traffic.”
With this in mind, Morgan is praising CASL’s eight full-time employees, whose duties currently comprise eleven full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions at the Port Hastings airport facility.
“They’ve shouldered a lot of the learning – sometimes by themselves, as we’ve chased business around the country,” said Morgan, pointing to the airport’s debut appearance at the annual showcase of the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) in Abbotsford, British Columbia as an example.
“We’ll be doing hiring in the spring for next season, but we’ll be doing our best to preserve these jobs and keep everybody hired into the winter.”
Morgan, who added fellow Inverness County natives Damian MacInnis and Mitch MacDonald to the CASL ownership group this past spring, is reporting a “busy” summer of business and personal air traffic at the Port Hawkesbury Municipal Airport.
“We’re seeing a lot larger business-jet aircraft than we’ve had in the past, from what I can see in the record – we’re seeing a lot of mid-size and heavy commercial aircraft, more so than your small Lear jets and stuff like that, which we expected to see,” Morgan recalled.
As his group prepares to welcome its new terminal building in the coming days, Morgan is crediting such local companies as Norvon, Strait Supplies, National Car Rental and Canso Ford for helping CASL launch so successfully this summer.
“Everything’s going good – we’re at about where we should be. We’re about 10 days behind, but we’ll just hope that the season goes 10 days longer,” Morgan chuckled.