KF Aerospace, formerly known as Kelowna Flightcraft, has announced plans to build a centre of excellence (CoE) on the east side of Kelowna airport (CYLW). The $25 million CoE will consist of an exhibition hall and a conference centre, building on the legacy of KF Aerospace founder Barry Lapointe, OBC. Additional facilities in the 4645 m2 structure will include a museum, a cafeteria and classrooms.

Lapointe, recently inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, built his company over the past 50 years into one of the largest aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities in Canada.

KF Aerospace is Kelowna’s largest private sector employer, with over 750 employees. The company also has bases in Vancouver, Portage la Prairie in Manitoba and Hamilton, Ontario. Other than the maintenance and engineering division, the company also operates an international scheduled and charter cargo division, an aircraft leasing division and is a supplier of pilot training to the RCAF.

“KF Aerospace has a long and proud history as a leader in the aviation industry in Canada,” Kelowna Airport Director Sam Samaddar told eFlight. “This spectacular new facility in Kelowna will not only celebrate the rich aviation history of the Okanagan but will work with education facilities to ensure that we continue to innovate by providing hands-on, technology-driven education and solutions for the demand of aerospace jobs in the future.”

Construction is planned to begin early in 2019 with a completion date in 2022.