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What It’s Like to Decolonize the Sky

Frontal view of Teara Fraser (left) and Alsiha Sohpaul in coveralls standing beside a twin prop plane, each with a hand on the fuselage.
Iskwew Air. Teara Fraser (left) and aircraft maintenance engineer Alisha Sohpaul.
Métis pilot Teara Fraser is the first Indigenous woman to own and operate her own airline in Canada.
By Alyssa Hirose for Vancouver Magazine, Jan 24, 2022

Métis pilot Teara Fraser is the first Indigenous woman to own and operate her own airline in Canada. Between delivering supplies to remote communities during COVID, offsetting carbon emissions and being industry leaders in equity and sustainability, she and her team ensure that their work in the air does some good for the Earth—and for the people on it.

By Teara Fraser, as told to Alyssa Hirose

My passion for this industry started when I was 30 years old. I went on a trip to Africa, and travelled in a small aircraft for the very first time. It was so inspiring to witness the land, and its stories, from the air.

But beyond the outside, I was curious about the inside of the aircraft—how an airplane flies, what all the buttons are for. I said, “This pilot’s got the coolest job I’ve ever seen!” It ignited an idea about what was possible. So I came home and started my flight training.

Profile portrait of a woman (pilot Teara Fraser) looking out over her right shoulder with an out of focus structure receding behind her in soft natural light
Wonderful Ida. Pictured: Teara Fraser.

Starting an airline in a global pandemic has been enormously challenging. We were trying to keep up with all the changes, and trying to make responsible decisions. And then it became about how we can serve. We started an airlift campaign where we delivered supplies to remote communities. We launched our own aircraft maintenance organization. Now, we’ve commenced scheduled service—we are tenacious as heck.

To read the full story continue here.

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