MOUNTAIN FLYING PIONEERS SINCE 1974IN 1974, Ron Banner began operations from the Squamish Airport with wheel and ski planes providing air tours to the public and commercial services to the fisheries, forestry, and mining industries. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, AAL Air Alps Ltd., as we were known then, also offered flight training for enthusiastic local pilots. At one point “The Mountain Flying School” with its memorable logo, operated up to eight different aircraft at one time.
The unique capabilities of ski-planes provided fast, economical and safe access to remote glaciers and became a popular way to experience some of the most spectacular scenery in Southwestern British Columbia. In the early 1990s, while mining, forestry and flight training opportunities were declining, tourism was on the rise so we changed our name to Glacier Air to reflect the changes in the times and in our region and operations.
By then, Glacier Air became the only company in Canada to operate a Pilatus Porter on wheel-skis and offer extraordinary glacier landings and even dining! In 1999, Glacier Air introduced helicopter flight operations for glacier landings to meet the demand of the tourism market and phased out the ski-plane operations.
Ron and Isabel Banner began contemplating retirement from the flying business after years of dealing with aviation’s highs and lows. In 2001, Colette Morin, an enthusiastic pilot who began working with Glacier Air in 1997, became Chief Pilot and Operations Manager and was responsible for the daily operations of Glacier Air. In the spring of 2002, Ron and Isabel retired and Colette purchased the assets of the business.
Colette reintroduced fixed wing flight training at Glacier Air and began rebuilding the company after the decline in the tourism market and the dramatic changes within the aviation industry following the events of 9/11. In 2004, Glacier Air partnered with Omega Aviation (now Blackcomb Aviation) to provide helicopter tours. Together, Glacier Air and Blackcomb Aviation are able to offer an extensive range of aircraft and helicopters which can accommodate most tour or charter requests.
Since 2002, Glacier Air has proudly introduced people to the joys of flight and licensed numerous private and commercial pilots and flight instructors. In addition to providing quality flight training, Glacier Air continues to be a preferred air service provider for many private and government industries and continues to be the top tour attraction in the Sea to Sky region!