Portage la Prairie´s civilian/military airbase is located south of the community and is known as Southport. It was established as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during World War II and trained thousands of pilots from around the World for military service.
Since 1966, Southport was known as the Canadian Forces Base, Portage la Prairie. At its peak, there were 495 military personnel, and 194 civilian jobs at the base. Throughout that period, the Base served as an integral component of the Central Plains economy.
Southport remains a training Base for Canadian Forces pilots, but today the base is the home to the Canada Wings Aviation Training Centre. Allied Wings work hand–in–hand with Canadian Forces military personnel providing state–of–the–art computer based, instructor led, simulator and flight training to ab–initio (primary) pilot candidates, as well as to advanced multi–engine and helicopter pilot candidates