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.”

Just Posted

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Haida artist Derek Edenshaw helps Rupert spruce up city

A giant kraken, painted by local artists under Edenshaw’s tutelage, is now on display

Haida Gwaii teacher denied paid bereavement travel leave

Arbitrator sides with B.C. Teachers Federation in dispute over funeral trip

Skeena mainstem closed to recreational sockeye

Escapements expected to be below 800,000 threshold

Rainbow Yarnbombing takes over

Haida Gwaii Knitting Group surprise the islands

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the Stampede, a 10-day annual celebration of western life

Most Read