Over the course of 51 years, KF Aerospace has grown from a mobile aircraft maintenance business in the Okanagan Valley to become a Canadian success story and a world-class aerospace company.
Founded in 1970 by Barry Lapointe, KF has expanded to specialize in aircraft maintenance and modifications, military aircrew training, air cargo operations and aircraft leasing. For more than 5 years, KF Aerospace’s partnership with Mohawk College has helped keep its corporate, commercial and military customers in the air. Mohawk Maintenance and Structural Technician students and alumni are integral to KF’s provision of innovative aviation solutions, with more than 25 Mohawk alumni actively contributing to KF’s ongoing success.
An example of the company’s commitment to success is unfolding now. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 resulted in drastic restrictions on passenger travel and an almost immediate halt on demand for passenger aircraft repair services. KF made the decision to commit to its workers and find a creative response.
As a result, they diversified their services and rapidly expanded their work converting passenger aircraft to cargo freighters, providing the structural and avionics modifications to support the growing demand for air cargo service that has resulted from the pandemic. And, today, they are hiring a new crop of AME-Structures technicians to help them meet the growing demand.
Demonstrating the strength of its partnership, KF’s recent $30-million facility expansion in Hamilton was constructed side by side with the new $20 Million Mohawk College Centre for Aviation Technology, a 75,000-square-foot complex that allows students to benefit from experiential learning opportunities with KF Aerospace.
“We had proven success in training students for jobs in the industry but we needed more space. With the cooperation of a committed industry partner, KF Aerospace, we found a solution,” said Mohawk College President and CEO Ron J. McKerlie. “By constructing our new facility in cooperation with KF Aerospace, Mohawk College has been able to bring all of its Aviation programs together in one purpose-built, airside hangar at Hamilton International Airport. And we have the capacity to educate twice as many students for rewarding careers in the Aviation sector.”
By constructing the new facility in cooperation with KF Aerospace, Mohawk College has gathered students from its Aviation programs from three different locations into one state-of-the-art facility at John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. The four-storey training centre incorporates modern labs, shops, training aids, classrooms, and access to nearly 20 aircraft.
The Mohawk and KF Aerospace buildings are connected by common areas, providing students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, observing and working alongside certified tradespeople in placements and experiential learning opportunities in a hangar adjacent to their classes and labs. The new centre doubles program enrollment capacity for the college, complementing KF Hamilton’s anticipated growth from 150 employees to 425 in the next four years.
As they both spread their wings in their new space at Hamilton International Airport, the successful partnership between KF Aerospace and Mohawk College will continue to grow, develop and thrive. A recent example is the Apache Piper refurbished aircraft donation to the Eva Rothwell center as the two organizations work together to support the local community.