Celebrating Barry Lapointe’s Induction into the Order of Canada

June 28, 2024

On June 27, 2024, KF Aerospace Founder and Chair of the Board Barry Lapointe was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada. This prestigious recognition, bestowed by Governor General Mary Simon, celebrates Barry’s significant contributions to Canada’s aerospace industry and his philanthropic efforts, including support for post-secondary institutions and the KF Centre for Excellence.

Barry founded KF Aerospace (originally Kelowna Flightcraft) in 1970 as a one-man maintenance operation. He traveled the Okanagan in his panel van to fix aircraft at various airports and in farmer’s fields. Within four years, he established flight operations. Through strategic investments and growth, Barry transformed Kelowna Flightcraft into KF Aerospace – a truly Canadian success story. Today, KF employs over 1,200 staff who service and support commercial, military, and private aircraft globally. Barry’s commitment to his staff is evident through his ‘Barry Bucks’ program, which has paid over $40 million in bonuses to KF employees.

Barry’s legacy extends beyond aviation. He has contributed tens of millions of dollars to community initiatives, including the Okanagan College Trades Atrium, the UBC Okanagan ‘Hangar’ Fitness Facility, the KGH Foundation and the KF Centre for Excellence in Kelowna—a state-of-the-art aviation-themed conference and exhibition centre opened in 2022. Today, people from all over the world visit the Centre for Excellence to enjoy its unique building design, vintage aircraft, and exhibits that inspire future generations of aviators.

Long-term employees at KF Aerospace will recall the growth from Purolator Mainline contracts, starting with Aero Commanders in 1977 to Convairs, B727s, and DC10s by 2015. Barry also spearheaded various passenger operations, including Intercity Air, Greyhound Airlines, Columbus, Excel, and now Aeroflyer. KF’s maintenance and engineering achievements include upgrading Cosmos, T-33 Buffalos, and Twin Otters; stretching CV580s to 5800s; adding winglets and cargo doors to hundreds of aircraft; creating combis and LOPA upgrades; developing and certifying hundreds of STCs; and servicing more than 25 aircraft types from regional to widebody. In 2000, Barry purchased the Convair type certification to support the worldwide fleet, and in 2005, KF was awarded the CFTS contract to train Royal Canadian Air Force pilots in Southport. In 2024, that legacy was extended when KF Aerospace was awarded the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program.

KF Aerospace stands out globally for its ability to navigate changing aviation trends and demands. Barry’s innovative approach has led KF to identify niche markets and services in aviation while remaining sustainable and viable in an often volatile industry. Under his leadership, KF integrates commercial passenger and cargo flying, heavy maintenance and modification, shops and manufacturing, line maintenance, aerospace engineering, pilot training, and aircraft leasing, with a reputation for quality and range of service that is unparalleled in the aviation industry.

Barry’s ambition, hard work, knowledge, and passion for aviation are truly inspirational. His numerous accolades include honorary doctorates, a lifetime membership in the Air Transportation Association of Canada (ATAC), the Order of B.C., induction into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, and now the Order of Canada.

At KF Aerospace, we are incredibly proud to be part of Barry’s legacy and are committed to upholding our industry-leading reputation. As we look to the future, we are excited to continue leading Canadian aviation with new services such as Future Aircrew Training and P-8 Poseidon support.

Congratulations, Barry!