Celticjet | Bombardier CRJ700 | G-GAEJ | 2012-present
Celticjet was founded in 2011 by a small investment group based in Glasgow. They saw an opening in the Scottish aviation market, which was underserved at the time, especially from airports other than Edinburgh. Seeing Glasgow as a sizeable market with enough room to support its own carrier, they launched Celticjet officially on January 12th, 2012, ordering 3 brand new CRJ700 NextGen jets from Bombardier and purchasing a fourth one 6 months later from a bankrupt airline in the US. Its AOC was awarded on December 22nd, 2012, and flights began on February 6th, 2013, with 7C 2454 flying from Glasgow to London Gatwick.
In the 7 years it's been flying Celticjet has earned its piece of the pie in the Scottish aviation market. It's been distinguished from other UK carriers for its excellent, friendly and attentive service and competitive fares, solidifying its position in the crowded and busy UK skies. Even though the carrier has since expanded to other bases such as Inverness, Celticjet has stayed true to its routes, even establishing itself as a sort of hometown carrier for Glasgow. In fact, the company has helped Glasgow's tourism industry grow significantly, as it began offering international services (aside from Ireland) in 2015, with a daily connection to Paris Orly. This inspired the founders to add the coat of arms of the city at the nose of the airline's jets, reminding travellers that they're flying on Glasgow's airline.
Since its founding Celticjet has grown to a modest fleet of 16 CRJ700s, flying mainly to the UK, along with internationa services to Western Europe, Scandinavia and Iceland. The airline had stated that it didn't intend on growing much further, satisfied with the growth it had achieved, and instead planned on maintaining its market share. However, as with all other airlines in the world, the COVID-19 crisis has had tremendous consequenses for the small carrier, which grounded its entire fleet in mid-March 2020 until at least early May. Celticjet is now facing a cash crunch, and has requested a loan fom the Scottish government to stay afloat. Although it is expected to be granted, the pandemic has no end in sight and its long-term effects on the industry are unknown, leaving it, along with hundreds of other airlines globally, facing an uncertain future.
This aircraft, G-GAEJ, was delivered new to Celticjet in 2017. Just like all aircraft in its fleet, it is configured with 70 seats in an all-Economy class configuration. Notably in its short life with the airline, it was used to launch a seasonal route from Glasgow to Nice in the summer of 2018. It was also one of the last aircraft to be grounded and put to storage at Glasgow Airport, operating its last flight, 7C 6501, DUB-GLA, on March 20th, 2020.