Helicopters Magazine

Flight management software company AirSuite expanding as demand grows

April 25, 2024  By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

Michael Kleywegt was a recipient of the Top 20 Under 40 award program led by Wings and Helicopters magazines back in 2018 at age 38, when he served as CEO and Lead Developer, AirSuite based in Thunder Bay, ON. (Photo: File, AirSuite)

Helicopter pilots Michael Kleywegt and Doug Carlson were done with rifling through binder pages to find information for up to eight mandated regulatory audits each year.
Kleywegt began developing software to digitize all of the pilot qualifications, including flight hours and medical histories, and in 2015, Cirro by AirSuite was born.

Kleywegt, the chief executive officer and founding senior developer of AirSuite, together with his business partner Carlson, streamlined the software and began to market it.
AirSuite has taken off providing flight management software for companies around the world, while their roots are grounded in Thunder Bay.

The company reached new heights with a $2.48-million contract for three years with the Aircraft Services Directorate, the air operator within Transport Canada.
The contract has an additional seven-year option resulting in the creation of several new jobs at AirSuite.

Kleywegt said their software will be used by Transport Canada for environmental monitoring and surveillance, Canadian Coast Guard operations and government airlift, including the prime minister’s flights.


“There’s a very high degree of security and scrutiny that goes around how that data and everything gets hosted and it’s a very exciting opportunity for our company,” Kleywegt said.

As the software was being built, it was business as usual, which required ongoing audits.
“While I was building up the system, the auditors were coming in to do their audit, which is very time-consuming,” he said. “These auditors would see the product that I was building and developing and they urged me to get this out there.”

A business plan was made and funding and support to help develop applications was obtained from the National Research Council of Canada-Industrial Research Assistance Program.

“Our business partner was excellent at helping with the company branding and we got support locally from the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre with the business plan,” Kleywegt said. “Thunder Bay Ventures kicked in money into preference and preferred shares for the company.”

Kleywegt says today, almost 50 per cent of Canadian small- to medium-sized aviation companies use AirSuite software as their compliance tool of choice.

“We have several companies located in the U.S., Australia, Indonesia, South America, New Guinea, and others scattered around the world as well,” he added.

With 19 employees on board, the company is in the process of constructing a 2,200-square-foot expansion for additional office space. “We’ve outgrown our existing office space here locally and the new office space will host another 17 employees locally here in [Thunder Bay].”

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2023


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