Iskwew Air – a member of the Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM) – has launched its Aircraft Maintenance Organisation (AMO) wing of the company to help increase the representation of women in aviation and aerospace.
The airline, which operates a twin engine PA31 Piper Navajo Chieftain airplane – provides 24-hour charter services to communities around the province of British Columbia from its base at Vancouver International Airport. Led by Teara Fraser – the first indigenous woman in Canada to set up and own an airline – Iskwew Air estimates that 2.8 per cent of aircraft maintenance engineers are women and less than 0.5 per cent are women of colour.
The launch date of its AMO – March 11th – was chosen to reflect the 50th anniversary of Maureen Routledge, who became the first woman in Canada to be licensed as an aircraft maintenance engineer.
Fraser said: “Together in this innovative space we will rematriate, reimagine, and rebuild our air transportation system — centering equity, resilience, and sustainability. We plan to both fly them and fix them!”
Iskwew Air’s AMO will be led by Alisha Sohpaul, who is a licensed M1 & M2 Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Speaking at the company’s launch event, she said: “It was such an emotional moment for me when I passed my exam. At that moment, we had just opened the door for so many women who thought they could not hold the same title. When people see someone who looks like them, it can really help realise they can do this too.
“Aircraft maintenance is not a common job that you hear about at your average career fair. It’s so important to me that I not only represent women in my field, but encourage young females to pursue careers in aviation. Some of my best memories have been working alongside other female aircraft engineers, because we’re able to support one another and relate to each other’s daily workplace issues.
“What we’re doing today is creating a safe space for women in aviation which is long overdue, and this is just the beginning. I’m truly honoured to be paving this path with Teara and redefining the aviation industry.”
The new AMO aims to position itself as a traditional maintenance provider and build a more sustainable future for the aviation industry by leading the way with Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) technology.
As a CAAM member, Iskwew Air is helping to build an ecosystem of national collaboration towards a sustainable, equitable and profitable Advanced Air Mobility industry in Canada. CAAM goals include zero emissions from Advanced Air Mobility operations in Canada, 40 billion revenue passenger kilometres per year by 2040 and 40 million freight tonne kilometres per year by 2040.
CAAM will be holding its next Digital Open House this Thursday, March 18th from 9.30am PT/12.30pm ET.