A new airline will provide service between Qualicum Beach and Vancouver, starting in August. Iskwew Air said the BC Tourism Indigenous Recovery Fund helped it to launch the new service.
“We are proud to see our Indigenous tourism businesses, including Iskwew Air, recover from COVID-19 with adapted strategies to deliver exceptional Indigenous tourism experiences to domestic travellers and soon international travellers,” said Paula Amos, chief marketing and development officer of Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC).
There has been no scheduled service at Qualicum Beach airport since April 2020 and Iskwew Air said it found overwhelming interest after consulting with residents in June.
“The Town has been working diligently to provide regular airline service to and from Qualicum Beach and we are pleased that Iskwew Air will begin flying out of the Qualicum Beach Airport. They will be a valuable addition to our town,” said Mayor Brian Wiese.
Iskwew (pronounced ISS-KWAY-YO) is the Cree word for woman. Teara Fraser, Iskwew Air founder, said the word was chosen as an intentional act of the reclamation of womanhood, matriarchal leadership and language.
“We have been working towards this for a long time, this is a very exciting day,” she said.
“It is powerful to see Matriarchs create opportunities to support tourism and connect communities. Our government is happy to provide grants through the BC Indigenous Tourism Recovery Fund Program to contribute to the post COVID-19 economic recovery,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport.