ARCHIVED - Contracted Flying Training and Support (CFTS)

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Backgrounder / March 30, 2005 / Project number: BG-05.007


In 1989, following the decision to close Canadian Forces Base Portage la Prairie, the Department of National Defence initiated an effort to secure contracted support to continue flying training operations on the site of the former base in Southport, Manitoba.

In 1992, Bombardier Inc. began to deliver flight training services under a competitive contract the Department awarded for a five-year term with two one-year options (which were exercised). Under terms of the contract, Bombardier Inc. provided primary flight training and multi-engine aircraft, and used loaned aircraft from DND for the helicopter pilot training. Bombardier Inc. was responsible for all aircraft servicing and maintenance and provided full airfield operations under agreements with several sub-contractors and the Southport Aerospace Centre Inc. (SACI), the locally owned not-for-profit economic development agency that had assumed responsibility for the former CFB Portage La Prairie site. Bombardier Inc. also provided all primary flying training and “aircraft sorties” for the helicopter and multi-engine courses.

In 1999, the Department of National Defence negotiated a two-year contract extension with a one-year option with Bombardier Inc. followed by a further three-year extension in 2002 to allow time for a new competitive process to take place, a contract to be awarded, and interim services to be put in place.

Contracted Flying Training and Support Project

The CFTS project team has since been working at putting in place a contract to provide long-term primary, helicopter and multi-engine fixed wing pilot training at Southport. A pre-qualification phase was held in 2002, with Bombardier Inc. and Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd. successfully qualifying for the Request for Proposals phase. The Request for Proposal seeking investment in training technologies to achieve a learning environment suitable for the complexities of modern aviation training was issued in October 2003. Final bids were received from both companies on July 30, 2004.

Following a detailed evaluation of the two submissions, the Government of Canada announced Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd. was the winner and indicated the intention, after confirmation of financing details, to award it a contract valued at $1.77 billion over 22 years. The contract award is expected in the summer of 2005. Under the terms of the contract, Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd., leading a consortium of Canadian companies known as Allied Wings, will provide the Canadian Forces with primary flight training, and specialized helicopter and multi-engine fixed wing pilot training. The contract requires the provision of all support activities including the aircraft and simulators (plus maintenance and servicing) and work offices, in addition to meteorological, air traffic control, emergency response and airfield aviation services.

The Canadian Forces will continue to provide military instructors for the helicopter and multi-engine fixed wing flight training, as well as Quality Assurance for the entire program.

The contract will be awarded upon confirmation of project financing and will achieve full operation following a 14- to 24-month transition period.

Future International Foreign Training

Although the primary role of CFTS is to provide pilot training to the Canadian Forces, several other nations have been trained under the program. It is the intention of the Canadian Forces to continue marketing the CFTS pilot training program to its NATO, commonwealth and other military allies.

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