Kenmore Air, Puyallup Tribe open seaplane terminal in first-of-its-kind partnership
TACOMA, Wash., July 25, 2023 - Tickets are on sale for scenic flights from the new Puyallup Tribal Air Terminal with Kenmore Air on Ruston Way in Tacoma.
The first public flights are scheduled to take off on Friday, Aug. 11. They will take off and land from a new seaplane dock positioned between the RAM Restaurant & Brewery at 3001 Ruston Way and the former C.I. Shenanigan's restaurant. Tickets are on sale at kenmoreair.com (click on "Book Now").
The project is a partnership between the Puyallup Tribe and Kenmore Air. The partnership will be highly visible in the skies over Puget Sound thanks to Kenmore Air wrapping one of its seaplanes with the Tribe's salmon logo and the logo of the Tribe's Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel.
"We are excited for this historic operation to begin," said the Puyallup Tribal Council, the Tribe's governing body. "With our partners at Kenmore Air, people are able to see the beauty of what our area has to offer."
This year's scenic flight season will run until October 15th with Kenmore Air planes taking customers on a 20-minute scenic flight over the South Sound. Passengers will soak in stunning views of Mount Rainier, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Commencement Bay, Puget Sound, Vashon Island, and other sights. The scenic flights will then resume in April, and flight operations may expand with service to the San Juan Islands and Victoria, B.C.
"We're thrilled to see this partnership and South Sound service offering come to fruition," said David Gudgel, president of Kenmore Air. "Our scenic flights are always popular and we're excited about the potential for south sound service access direct to the San Juans, Victoria and beyond."
The new dock is adjacent to 2 acres of land the Tribe purchased in 2021. In addition to the RAM restaurant, the property includes the former C.I. Shenanigan's, which is being converted into a new Native / internationally inspired restaurant with world-renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi.
The air service will also open the Tribe's casinos and hospitality venues to visitors from British Columbia and beyond. In May 2020, the Tribe opened its new $400 million Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma as well as its adjacent 155-room luxury hotel in December 2021. Recently, the Tribe inaugurated sports betting at its Tacoma casino and its EQC location in Fife through a partnership with BetMGM.
With 25 aircraft in operation, 52 pilots on staff and more than 250 employees in peak season, Kenmore Air is among the best-known and most respected seaplane operators in the world. In the future, the partnership will work together to create an aviation job training program for interested Puyallup Tribal Members.
Since 2020, the Puyallup Tribal Council and its economic development team have aggressively worked to diversify and expand the Tribe's economic base. In addition to opening the new casino, purchasing the Ruston Way property, partnering with Kenmore Air and Yamaguchi, it partnered with Amazon on a new sort center and started a new company, Tahoma Global Logistics, using its port property. On June 20, 2023, the Puyallup Tribal Council and the Seattle FIFA World Cup local organizing committee announced the Tribe as cultural partner of Seattle FIFA World Cup 26—the first in FIFA World Cup history.
The partnership with Kenmore Air makes it the only Tribe in the United States to bring seaplane services into its economic portfolio.
"The Puyallup Tribe is a leader in business, and we try to think outside the box as we diversify our economic portfolio," said Matt Wadhwani, the Tribe's financial and economic development officer.
About Kenmore Air
Founded in 1946, Kenmore Air is the largest seaplane airline in the United States, flying over 90,000 passengers annually in its iconic de Havilland Beaver and Otter aircraft. In addition to providing scheduled flights to over 45 water-based destinations throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Kenmore Air's wheeled aircraft operation, Kenmore Air Express, offers scheduled service between both Boeing Field and Paine Field and the San Juans aboard modern Cessna Caravan aircraft. In addition to their scheduled service, Kenmore Air and Kenmore Air Express offer charter service to many other destinations. For more information, please visit KenmoreAir.com.
About the Puyallup Tribe of Indians
The Puyallup People have lived along the shores of what is now called Puget Sound since time immemorial. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is a sovereign nation of more than 5,000 members and one of the largest employers in Pierce County. It serves its members and community with generosity and is committed to building a sustainable way of life for future generations. Since 2012, it has donated more than $17 million to local nonprofit organizations through its Charity Trust Board, with Tribal Council donating millions more from its own funding. Learn more about the Puyallup Tribe.
About the Puyallup Tribal Council
The Puyallup Tribal Council is the elected governing body of the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. The council consists of Chairman Bill Sterud, Vice Chairwoman Sylvia Miller, and Councilmembers Annette Bryan, James Rideout, Anna Bean, Monica Miller and Fred Dillon. Learn more about the Puyallup Tribal Council.