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

Hands Against Racism takes over Surrey City Hall

Event included music, dance; two people received awards

Surrey couple visits the Philippines each year to give back to wife’s former village

Nissa and Bob Clarkson give toys to children, provide medical-dental missions

Surrey mom says Liberal budget falls short in helping people with autism

Louise Witt, whose son has autism, says budget provisions like ‘putting a Band-Aid on a cancer’

Upbeat White Rock concert blends ecology, history

The Wilds and Tiller’s Folly raise ‘Voices for the Salish Sea’

STRONG, PERSEVERING AND PROUD: Surrey Pride celebrates 20 years with biggest party yet

PART ONE: A special series on the past, present and future of our LGBTQ+ community

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Vancouver-bound transit bus involved in fatal crash near Seattle

One man was killed and a woman injured in crash with bus purchased by TransLink

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read