Flight training at Southport secure
Site Manager Peter Fedak flying the simulator over Portage la Prairie from the comfy confines of Hangar 1 at Southport. Training will continue in Southport for at least the next nine years. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
It'll be business as usual at Southport.
The partnership between KF Aerospace and the Royal Canadian Air Force will remain in place until at least 2027, keeping flight training in Southport for the foreseeable future. KF Aerospace site manager, Peter Fedak, was in Ottawa this week ensuring more training opportunities aren't lost to the RCAF's Moose Jaw operation.
“The government of Canada is embarking on renewals of all the pilot training contracts,” says KF Aerospace site manager, Peter Fedak. “As far as the 3 Canadian Forces Flight Training School (3CFFTS) contract in Southport, we’re stable and secure until 2027."
The government's contract with the Moose Jaw base expires in 2023, which was the driving force behind the contract renewals with both Southport and Moose Jaw's 15 Wing.
The RCAF does its initial pilot training at Southport Airport and has been for years as the military closed Canadian Forces Base Portage la Prairie in 1992 to advance training held in Moose Jaw, Sask. Now, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopter pilots return to Southport for final training while jet pilots remain in Saskatchewan. Fedak says KF Aerospace and CAE, the company that runs the training in Moose Jaw, have decided to secure the two facilities futures by joining as one.
“We have joined forces in a new joint venture called SkyAlyne,” he says. “This company exists to go after the future training needs of the RCAF. We’re both 100 per cent Canadian companies and we’re doing our roles very well. I think we’re perfectly situated to continue on doing that and will strongly support continuing the same basing well into the future.”
As for workers and training in Southport, it’s business as usual for the next nine years, at least. With new contracts coming along there will be changes but Fedak believes the training will not only continue at both locations but would ideally expand at both as well.
“The RCAF is looking at their training needs and we want to continue doing what we do,” says Fedak. “Southport has done a great job under (CEO) Peggy May. They do great work maintaining infrastructure, the water and sewer are very new and our hangars are only 10 years old.”
Fedak feels the relationship between Southport, KF Aerospace, the region and the province is strong and he’s looking forward to the continued partnership.