Lockheed Martin’s decision to open an engine shop in Montreal started out as an asset acquisition effort to bolster the company’s existing capabilities but quickly grew in scope when company executives saw greater opportunity in starting a stand-alone operation, a company executive tells Aviation Week.

Lockheed Martin on Monday announced it had bought certain assets from the former Aveos engine maintenance facility in Montreal and plans to open Kelly Aviation Center Montreal. The new facility will continue the CFM56 and General Electric (GE) CF34 engine lines employed by Aveos.

Notably, the new facility will include backshop piece-part repair capability that Kelly San Antonio lacks.

“This really accelerated an existing plan we had,” says Amy Gowder, who serves as Kelly Aviation Center’s general manager and will hold the same title for the Montreal facility. “Some of the things we could not offer existing San Antonio customers we can now offer and vice versa. So there’s new market access and new service offerings.”

The Montreal facility adds a fourth commercial engine capability—the CF34—to Kelly’s existing service line. The San Antonio shop, launched in 1999 to serve military customers, started commercial work in 2006 with the GE CF6-50. It added the CF6-80 in 2011 and the CFM56-3 last year.

San Antonio’s growth plans included developing piece-part repair capabilities--work that the shop largely sends out. Gowder says that as the Aveos bankruptcy played out last year, Lockheed Martin’s original plan was to explore purchasing liquidated backshop assets to support expansion in San Antonio.

But when Gowder and her colleagues traveled to Montreal in September to investigate buying some former Aveos asset lots, it soon became apparent that a larger opportunity was at hand. Restarting an existing backshop operation would require less investment in training and infrastructure support than developing the capability in San Antonio, and the Montreal backshop could support both engine centers, company executives reasoned. Add in the chance to include regional jet engine maintenance and expand its CFM56 offerings with the support of an experienced labor force, and Lockheed Martin decided to changed course.

The new center, technically under the Lockheed Martin Canada umbrella, is expected to employ about 50 workers at the outset. Gowder says plans call for the first engine to roll into the new shop in April. The facility is projected to have 100 workers by 2014 and could expand to 200 by 2015, Gowder adds.

The facility does not have any customers lined up, but Lockheed Martin is confident that at least a few former Aveos patrons will soon return. Gowder says preliminary contacts with the Aveos customer base yielded several “favorable responses,” provided contract terms and pricing were similar to those they secured with Aveos.

Aveos, the former Air Canada maintenance division spun off into a stand-alone entity in 2007, ceased operations in March 2012 and filed for protection under Canada’s Companies Creditors Arrangement Act. The company was unable to sell its complete airframe or engine operation, forcing the shop’s assets into liquidation. A J Walter Aviation acquired the former Aveos components business last September.