Harvey Friesen – Bearskin Air Passes

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Cliff and Harvey Friesen from Bearskin Air have been nominated for the Jim Glass Award
Cliff and Harvey Friesen from Bearskin Air have been nominated for the Jim Glass Award
Cliff and Harvey Friesen from Bearskin Air have been nominated for the Jim Glass Award
Cliff and Harvey Friesen from Bearskin Air – Pioneers in Northern Aviation

THUNDER BAY – Breaking – The world of aviation and business in Northern Ontario has lost a giant. Harvey Friesen the former co-owner of Bearskin Air has passed away. Harvey Friesen passed away suddenly in Palm Springs California on Sunday.  Friesen was sixty-five years old.

Harvey Friesen, originally from Warman, Sask., was a pilot for the company before purchasing a 50% interest in 1972.

Cliff Friesen, Harvey’s brother, purchased his interest in the company back in 1978 and is the Executive Vice President. Other owners include Vice President of Operations, Karl Friesen (unrelated), Rick Baratta, Vice President of Finance and Brad Martin, Director of Operations.

In 1977, the company began its first scheduled route, carrying passengers between Big Trout Lake and Sioux Lookout. In 1978 a base operation was established in Sioux Lookout and a second scheduled route was launched, between Sioux Lookout and Thunder Bay. Shortly thereafter, Cliff Friesen moved to Thunder Bay to establish another base operation.

Then in 2010, after forty years at the helm, Bearskin Airlines co-owners Harvey and Cliff Friesen sold the company to Exchange Income Corp, the move made the brothers multi-millionaires.

Exchange Income Corp., an aviation and manufacturing company chaired by former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon, purchased Bearskin for $32.5-million. The Winnipeg-based company operates Calm Air, Keewatin Air and Perimeter Aviation, which have a combined fleet of nearly 60 planes.

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