Industry and Workforce

Northern Hub of Ontario's Aerospace Industry

Thunder Bay is the Northern Hub of Ontario's Aerospace Industry with companies involved in aviation manufacturing, maintenance, transportation and software development. The City of Thunder Bay and the Airport are service hubs to northern communities, local and International business as well as a key service provider for the mining sector. An abundance of local expertise with a strong knowledge base, built over many years, exists to fully support the aerospace sector.

Decrative image of commuter jet

Aerospace Industry in Canada

Canada ranks in the top three countries in terms of civil aircraft, engines, and flight simulator production.

The contribution of the aerospace sector to the Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is substantial. In 2017, the industry contributed close to $25 billion to the Canadian GDP, representing an over 6% increase over the previous five years. It also created almost 190,000 jobs (with direct employment of 85,600 jobs), an increase of 2% over the previous five years.

Canada's main trading partner, the United States, is the primary destination for Canadian-made aerospace products. In 2017 the United States purchased $7.7 billion of the $12.3 billion worth of civilian and military planes, components and other items the Canadian industry produced.

Canada has R&D incentive programs that help industry by making it more affordable to innovate and stay competitive in the market. In many cases, they help reduce the R&D costs by more than 50%. More than 20% of the Canadian aerospace manufacturing activity is dedicated to R&D.

Aerospace Industry in Ontario

Aerospace Manufacturing Jobs infographic

The Ontario aerospace market is comprised of over 350 companies, employing over 22,000 skilled workers including highly qualified engineers, technicians and scientists.

Ontario is home to over half of the world's top 25 aerospace companies. The aerospace market in Ontario is very solid and offers a complete supply chain from OEMs through Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers. It generates revenues of $6.4 billion in annual sales with 80% of revenue derived from export markets.

Ontario's aerospace industry is a world leader in several areas, including turboprop aircraft, business jets, turbine engines, landing gear systems, avionics, environmental systems and space robotics. Ontario's aerospace sector is a complete supply chain with most products and services manufactured and offered within the province.

Aerospace Industry in Thunder Bay

Leading the Way Infographic

The Thunder Bay International Airport

The Thunder Bay International Airport is an economic engine for the community, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in local economic activity while providing one of the largest employment generators in the region. The Airport has evolved into an indispensable piece of transportation infrastructure for Thunder Bay linking the City and its northwest Ontario catchment area to centres of national and international commerce.

The Thunder Bay Airport hosts 3 national carriers providing daily scheduled service to both Toronto Airports (Pearson and City Centre) and to Winnipeg. With a total of 4 carriers currently operating from the Airport, Thunder Bay is connected to over thirty communities in northern Ontario.

The Thunder Bay passenger volumes are at an impressive 6 to 1 propensity to fly ratio (based on a catchment area of 150,000 in population). This is the highest ratio in Ontario and among the top 10 in Canada.

Thunder Bay Aerospace Success Stories

Thunder Bay is the proud home of many aviation firms. Here is a list of just some of the firms located in the City.


AirSuite LogoAirsuite is an international developer of automated flight management software.

 Levaero Aviation

Levaero LogoLevaero Aviation is the exclusive Canadian distributor for the Pilatus PC-12 and PC-24 aircraft.

 Maintair Aviation Services

Maintair LogoMaintair Aviation Services is a supplier of full service passenger, ramp and cargo handling.

 NorthStar Air

NorthStar LogoNorthStar Air operates a fleet of 16 aircraft, and has over 180 employees.

 Thunder Bay Aviation

Thunder Bay Aviation LogoThunder Bay Aviation is a supplier of aircraft replacement parts.


Bearskin LogoBearskin conducts maintenance, repair and overall services on turbo-prop aircraft.

Wasaya Airways

Wasaya LogoWasaya Airways conducts maintenance, repair and overall services on turbo-prop aircraft.

Ornge Air Ambulance

Thunder Bay is also proud to host Ornge Air Ambulance. Ornge Air Ambulance operates a super base with fixed wing and rotary wing plus ground school training for pilots and a large three level program for paramedics including body simulators.

Ornge plane

Educated and Skilled Labour Force

Thunder Bay is home to an educated and highly skilled labour force that is geared towards supporting aerospace manufacturing in the region. Thunder Bay's two major educational institutions are pro-active in the ongoing development of the skill sets needed by employees to enable aerospace companies in Thunder Bay to maintain their competitive advantage.

Confederation College's new TEC Hub facility supports their engineering technology programs, enhancing its aerospace Manufacturing program, and contributes to the development of a skilled, employment ready workforce in aerospace product parts manufacturing and aircraft maintenance.

Lakehead University has 5 engineering programs in addition to Confederation College's 10 apprenticeship programs, as well as 8 technical programs focused on manufacturing.

The Thunder Bay International Airport also offers on site flight training and Ornge operates a super base with fixed wing and rotary wing plus ground school training for pilots.


For additional information please contact the Development Officer at (807) 625-3960 or visit our Contact Us page.


Video Resources

Downloadable Files

Areospace Industries Report

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Advanced Manufacturing Report

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Aviation Profile

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Manufacturing Ontario North

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For additional information please contact the Development Officer at (807) 625-3960 or visit our Contact Us page.