Corporate Aviation Insurance Group (CAIG) saw strong growth in premiums collected in 2014, rising by 57 percent. At the same time, three of its sister companies are expanding their rotorcraft operations with new additions to their collective fleet.
“We’re becoming one of the largest helicopter companies in the Midwest,” said Chuck Surack, founder and CEO of Fort Wayne, Ind.-based CAIG (Booth 5468). He also owns charter operators Helimotion in Joliet, Ill. and Indiana Helicopters in Goshen, Ind. as well as Sweet Aviation in Fort Wayne, which provides rotor training, sales and maintenance services and is a factory authorized Enstrom sales and service center.
Surack recently purchased an Airbus AS365N-2 Dauphin and an AS350B3e to add to the three operators’ combined fleet, which includes an Airbus AS355 Twin Star, two Airbus EC130s, an Airbus EC120, Bell 206 Jet Ranger and an Enstrom F-28F. Sweet Aviation has also added instructors and support staff in the last year.
With the impending opening of the Vertiport USA-Chicago heliport, Surack expects his operators to experience strong growth in 2015. “Now you can fly into O’Hare or DuPage, or Gary [Indiana] in your private jet and take a helicopter to downtown Chicago,” Surack said. “This is the first time you’ve been able to do that since 9/11.”
Helimotion has been named the facility’s official charter operator, he said. The Vertiport will also make helicopter charter from Chicago to many surrounding areas in the Midwest faster than traveling by fixed-wing aircraft.
In addition to serving the region, Helimotion has a custom designed trailer that can transport the AS350 or AS355 to a job site, reducing the cost of ferrying the helicopters by 50 to 75 percent.