Pilot becomes first female Inuk captain for Air Inuit
300 people gathered in Inukjuaq, Que., airport to surprise Melissa Haney
Air Inuit's first female Inuk captain's inspiration to become a pilot started when she was a flight attendant.
Melissa Haney sat in the jump seat beside the pilot one day, and that dream took flight.
She's now one of 14 Inuit pilots flying with the airline — but the only woman.
Earlier this week, the northern Quebec woman flew home in a Dash-8 aircraft, and was met by an unexpected crowd.
About 300 people gathered in the Inukjuaq, Que., airport to celebrate Haney's achievement.
"I was super surprised," Haney said.
"I even cried a little bit when I came in, because I was really touched by the people who took time out of their schedule... and have this surprise."
Rhoda Kokkiapik organized the surprise reception, which included a cake and gifts.
She was one of many who was able to see Haney land the new-to-her Dash-8 in her hometown for the first time.
"Her aircraft landed flawlessly," Kokkiapik said in Inuktitut.
Haney started her career with Air Inuit in 2001.
She says the best part of her job — from flight attendant to captain — is being able to see and talk to people from her region.
with files from Mike Salomonie