Our History

Canadian Helicopters can trace its roots back to 1947 when a predecessor company pioneered the use of a single light helicopter for aerial application of insecticides on fruit tree orchards in British Columbia. The fledgling company, known as Okanagan Air Services, operated the first commercially licensed helicopter in Canada.

Over the years our operations have grown and flourished, expanding both organically and through a series of acquisitions and reorganizations.

The growth of Canadian Helicopters has been multifaceted and purposeful. We have expanded our charter operations to service new clientele in industries such as oil & gas, mineral exploration, military support, hydro/utilities, forest management, construction, air ambulance, and search & rescue. We have also broadened our range of services to include advanced flight training and maintenance & repair services.

In 2005 the company became a public company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The company remained public until 2017 when it was taken private.


Canadian Helicopters has led by innovation and a commitment to service excellence. We invite you to review just a few of our accomplishments and initiatives that have transformed us into a helicopter company that is world renowned.

  • 1947

    Okanagan Air Services Ltd. established in Penticton, BC

  • 1947-2000

    Series of mergers and acquisitions of a number of helicopter operators, resulting in the largest helicopter operator in Canada, and one of the largest in the world based on fleet size

  • 2000

    Management led buy-out formed domestic ‘on-shore’ helicopter service provider, retaining the brand of Canadian Helicopters

  • 2005

    Initial Public Offering of Canadian Helicopters Income Fund; listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange

  • 2009

    Acquired 49% interest in Heli-Welders Canada Ltd., a Langley, BC based airframe repair business

  • 2010

    Nampa Valley Helicopters, Inc., a helicopter component repair business, is acquired (indirectly through Heli-Welders). Ownership of Heli-Welders increased to approximately 80% from 49%

    Conversion from an income trust structure to a public corporation named Canadian Helicopters Group Inc., on December 31, 2010

  • 2011

    Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. acquires Helicopters (N.Z.), including operations in New Zealand, Australia, and Cambodia

  • 2012

    Canadian Helicopters Group announces rebranding and change of corporate name to HNZ Group, Inc.

  • 2016

    HNZ Group announces the creation of Acasta HeliFlight Inc., operating in Northern Canada.

  • 2018

    Canadian Helicopters Limited becomes privately owned when HNZ Group is acquired by its President and CEO. At the same time, it divests its international offshore business.