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

Warrant issued for man who missed court in Victoria

In 2012 Derek McLean was prematurely released due to a paperwork mistake

Almost 150 hectares purchased for parks in the CRD

Capital Regional District purchases two sites to increase park connectivity

Victoria shatters its oldest temperature record

B.C. sees fourth straight day of record-breaking warmth

Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts visits Victoria for Comic Con

He says he’s looking forward to the event, but don’t ask him where the snake is

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps hires new chief of staff

Alison James will take over as head of strategy and operations on April 23

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Teen girl accused in plot to attack Kamloops school with weapons out on bail

Judge warned the girl she would be back in jail if she threatened to shoot anyone

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Crown drops one assault charge against B.C. man linked to human remains probe

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will still stand trial on one count of assault causing bodily harm in December.

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

Minor injury cap, court restrictions take effect April 1 in B.C.

Trans woman hopes funding cut will send message to B.C. rape crisis group

Rape Relief does not turn transgender women away and often connects them to other services, group says

Most Read