Puyallup Tribe and Kenmore Air venture set to take off

A Kenmore Air seaplane takes off from Tacoma, WA.
Photo Credit: Puyallup Tribe of Indians

Tickets are now available for scenic flights departing from the brand-new Puyallup Tribal Air Terminal in Tacoma, WA. Collaborating with Kenmore Air, the Puyallup Tribe is set to offer an unforgettable experience with these new sightseeing flights.

Scheduled to commence on Friday, Aug. 11, the flights promise stunning views of the South Sound and its surrounding wonders.

Flights will take off from a striking seaplane dock located between the RAM Restaurant & Brewery at 3001 Ruston Way and the former C.I. Shenanigan’s restaurant.

Partnership soaring high

The Puyallup Tribe and Kenmore Air have united their strengths to make this extraordinary venture possible.

“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.”

The skies over Puget Sound will be graced by the Tribe’s salmon logo and the emblem of the Tribe’s Emerald Queen Casino & Hotel, beautifully wrapped on one of Kenmore Air’s seaplanes. This partnership marks a historical operation that showcases the magnificence of the region.


The beauty of South Sound

From August 11 until October 15, Kenmore Air planes will take passengers on a mesmerizing 20-minute scenic flight over the South Sound.

Prepare to be captivated by unparalleled vistas of Mount Rainier, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Commencement Bay, Puget Sound, Vashon Island, and other breathtaking sights.

Following a seasonal pause, the scenic flights will resume in April, with potential expansion to include service to the San Juan Islands and Victoria, B.C.

The potential for expansion

David Gudgel, the president of Kenmore Air, expresses excitement for the South Sound service and the potential for expanded offerings.

The scenic flights have always been popular, and with this new partnership, they aim to provide direct access to the San Juans, Victoria, and beyond. The convenience and splendor of this aviation service are unparalleled.

A dock with a vision

Adjacent to the 2-acre land acquired by the Tribe in 2021, the new dock serves as a gateway to the sky.

The recently purchased property includes the RAM restaurant and the former C.I. Shenanigan’s, which will soon be transformed into a new Native and internationally inspired restaurant led by the world-renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi.

It is a testament to the Tribe’s commitment to creating exceptional experiences for visitors.

In addition to offering scenic flights, the air service opens the doors of the Tribe’s world-class casinos and hospitality venues to visitors from British Columbia and beyond.

The Tribe’s Emerald Queen Casino, along with its adjacent 155-room luxury hotel, has been welcoming guests since 2020.

Recently, the Tribe introduced sports betting through a partnership with BetMGM, further enhancing the entertainment options available to visitors.

Kenmore Air, with 25 aircraft in operation, 52 pilots on staff, and over 250 employees during peak season, stands as one of the world’s most reputable seaplane operators.

The partnership with the Puyallup Tribe holds even more promise as it strives to create an aviation job training program for interested Tribal Members. This initiative reflects the commitment to empower the local community.

Diversifying and expanding the economic base

Since 2020, the Puyallup Tribal Council, together with its economic development team, has actively pursued diversifying and expanding the Tribe’s economic base.

With the inauguration of the new casino, the acquisition of the Ruston Way property, partnerships with Kenmore Air and Yamaguchi, and the formation of Tahoma Global Logistics in association with Amazon, the Tribe has proven itself as a forward-thinking business leader.

The remarkable achievements of the Puyallup Tribe do not end there. On June 20, 2023, the Puyallup Tribal Council and the Seattle FIFA World Cup local organizing committee announced the Tribe as a cultural partner of Seattle FIFA World Cup 26.

This distinction marks a significant cultural milestone and exemplifies the Tribe’s commitment to sharing its heritage with the world.

With the partnership between the Puyallup Tribe and Kenmore Air, the Tribe has become the only Tribe in the United States to incorporate seaplane services into its economic portfolio.

This milestone serves as a testament to the Tribe’s innovative spirit and its determination to embrace new possibilities.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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