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It’s All Here Now

Aerospace & Manufacturing

What do Australia’s best-loved splash parks, Twitter headquarters, and Westjet planes have in common?

They all feature components designed, manufactured or installed in the Central Okanagan.  

The Central Okanagan's diverse manufacturing sector is comprised of 609 manufacturing firms with over 5,700 employees and ranges from the traditional like agri-foods and wood product processing, to high-tech composite manufacturing and research. 

Read more below and by downloading the Manufacturing and Aerospace Industry Profile.


Sector Overview

Fabricated metal manufacturing, non-metallic mineral manufacturing, transportation equipment manufacturing, plastics ad rubber products, and beverages are anticipated to lead the way in growth as the manufacturing industry continues to expand. The cross-section of manufacturers makes it easy for existing and new businesses to find high-quality local partners. 

The Central Okanagan is home to a growing cluster of well-established and new aerospace companies and suppliers. Maintenance, repair and overhaul/in-service support, rotary-wing and avionics are well represented and there is an increasing number of companies offering a diverse range of services. 

The region's aerospace industry is also benefitting from the Digitial Technology Supercluster - a historic investment by the Government of Canada, industry, and academia driving global leadership in digital technologies and fueling economic growth.

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Industry Highlights


  • BC has one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Canada with revenue of over $51 billion in 2017
  • There were 609 manufacturing firms employing 5760 people in the Central Okanagan in 2016
  • BC shipped over $8 billion in processed food and beverages in 2017


  • BC has one of the largest aerospace sectors in Canada with 170 firms, 8,300+ direct and up to 19,000 indirect jobs and $2.4 billion in annual revenue
  • 18% of BC's aerospace companies are located in the Central Okanagan
  • Kelowna International Airport is the 10th busiest airport in Canada serviced over 2 million passengers in 2019
  • The Central Okanagan benefits from close proximity to the Asia Pacific aerospace market and Washington State industry

Employment Information

Have you ever wondered what a career in aerospace looks like? With local, national and global demand for Aircraft Maintenance Engineers soaring, Okanagan College is working with industry to train the next generation of skilled technicians. Their aircraft maintenance program graduates are prepared for immediate entry into the field of aviation.
Central Okanagan Manufacturing
Total Business 609
W/O Employees 291
W Employees 318
1-4 117
5-9 69
10-19 62
20-49 47
50-99 12
100-199 5
200-499 6
NOC Median Wage Thompson Okanagan Median Wage BC
7315 - Aircraft mechanics and aircraft inspectors $34.00/HR $34.00/HR
2232 - Mechanical engineers $42.31/HR $42.31/HR
2133 - Electrical and electronics engineers $38.46/HR $38.46/HR


Competitive Advantages

  • The region was named the most Cost Competitive Region for business in the Pacific by KPMG in 2016
  • Dry climate ideal for fiberglass/composite and wood products manufacturing
  • Geographic proximity to key transportation routes including Port of Vancouver, YLW, YVR, YYC
  • Well serviced by Kelowna International Airport's nine airline partners offering 60 daily non-stop commercial flights
  • Extensive research and training capacity at UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College

Local Success Stories

Real companies. Real stories. Real Okanagan innovation.

We're All About the Craft

The region’s largest private-sector employer is only getting bigger. The number of staff in Kelowna alone is projected to grow from 750 to 800 by early 2020. Not only are the number of employees growing, the company’s skilled labour force tends to stay onboard. Over 150 staff members have over 20 years of service with KF Aerospace, making them some of the most highly skilled technicians in the business. While many industry competitors hire staff on a short term contract basis, KF Aerospace has focused on creating long-term, high-quality careers.

The increasing demand for highly skilled workers has led KF Aerospace to explore unique partnerships, including a joint commitment with Okanagan College and Mohawk College in Hamilton, ON to create cross-Canada opportunities for training, internships, cooperative education and applied research.

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Performance. Yields. Quality

Renowned for industry-leading customer support, reliability and innovation, Vitalis Extraction Technology is a global leader in CO2 extraction solutions. 

Vitalis' highly-acclaimed CO2 extraction systems are a dominant mix of versatility and engineering, built to exceed industry standards for safety and continuous operation. By observing and analyzing the industry landscape,  Vitalis continues to solve industry challenges, while fostering an environment of ingenuity and curiosity.

People are Vitalis' greatest asset. Vitalis is dedicated to nothing short of exceptional customer experience and maintains direct-to-client relationships, servicing customers on five continents. Vitalis provides customers with a quality product supported by a responsive and professional workforce all while securing more deployments of industrial-scale CO2 extractors into the market than any direct competitor.

 Standing on their five pillars of values (reputation, curiosity, professionalism, resourcefulness, and gratitude) Vitalis was awarded Top Extraction Equipment at a growing number of industry events, including both the 2017 and 2018 LIFT & Co. Awards. 

By establishing clear expectations, expediency, thorough root/cause analysis, highest standards, and ever-dependable consistency, Vitalis continues to innovate, leading the global pack now and into the future.