Teara Fraser, CEO of Iskwew Air. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)

First Canadian airline to be founded by an Indigenous woman takes off

Iskwew Air CEO Teara Fraser also announces youth program on International Women’s Day

Canada’s first airline to be founded and owned by an Indigenous woman is all clear for takeoff.

Iskwew Air, located out of Vancouver International Airport’s south terminal, officially launched on Friday, in honour of International Women’s Day.

CEO Teara Fraser and her eight-seat Piper Navajo will provide charter flights between the Lower Mainland and smaller communities that don’t have access to frequent airline service.

Since the beginning, Fraser’s goal has been to use her airline to bolster Indigenous tourism and empower women in aviation – starting with her company’s name, Iskwew (pronounced iss-KWAY-oh), which is the Cree word for woman.

“Indigenous women have been matriarchs, leaders, knowledge keepers, strategists, healers, and sophisticated entrepreneurs since time immemorial,” said Fraser, who is Metis, in a news release.

“By including and amplifying these important and powerful voices, we can see a whole new future full of innovation, strength and economic prosperity.”

WATCH: 1st Indigenous woman to start Canadian airline looks to B.C.’s remote regions

During Friday’s launch, Fraser also announced an initiative to inspire Indigenous youth to explore a career in aviation.

Through events around the province, the Give Them Wings program will give youth and their families the opportunity to learn more about aviation and what it takes to be a pilot.

BC Aviation Council chair Heather Bell said encouraging and recruiting young people is a key piece to reversing “a looming human resource shortage” in the industry.

“There is potential for this shortage to have significant impacts on Indigenous communities, should commercial providers find themselves unable to service remote and northern routes,” she said. “The need is real, the time is now. It is vital that programs like Give Them Wings exist.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

New traffic lanes for Six Mile west of Burns Lake coming soon

Construction to begin on lane extension and traffic improvement

Chamber names new board for 2020

And emphasizes that Houston is open for business

Houston to host high speed electric vehicle charging station

It will be installed and paid for by BC Hydro

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Most Read