A+ A A-

Puyallup Tribe, Kenmore Air begin scenic flights to charming San Juan Island May 16

PUYALLUP RESERVATION, Tacoma, Wash.— The sun has returned and with the gorgeous weather so has the second season of Kenmore Air flights from the Puyallup Tribal Air Terminal. New routes that link South Sound destinations such as Emerald Queen Casino to beautiful San Juan Island, known for its iconic Pacific Northwest landscapes, begin May 16 from Ruston Way.

The Ruston Way terminal is located between the RAM Restaurant & Brewery at 3001 Ruston Way and the former C.I. Shenanigans restaurant. Tickets are on sale at kenmoreair.com. 

Two flights a day will be available from Ruston Way to Friday Harbor Marina and from Ruston Way to Roche Harbor Marina. There will also be two return flights a day. Flights will leave Tacoma at 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. with return flights arriving at 11:45 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. The direct service flights to San Juan Island start at  $199 per person one-way and are only 55 minutes long, compared to the minimum 4-hour drive commute to get from Tacoma to San Juan Island via the state ferry system. 

The expanded service gives travelers from San Juan Island access not only to the RAM restaurant next to the Ruston Way terminal but also to the Tribe’s new Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, which includes a luxury hotel and the BetMGM @ EQC sportsbook. Coming this summer, the terminal will also feature Woven, a Native/internationally inspired restaurant in partnership with world-renowned Chef Roy Yamaguchi. 

Emerald Queen Casino will also be offering hotel stay packages and amenities such as private luxury transportation to and from the terminal to its property. Check the EQC website at emeraldqueen.com. 

Last year’s popular South Sound scenic flight tours will also continue, with Kenmore Air planes taking passengers on a 30-minute narrated flight over the South Sound for $109 per person. Passengers will take in stunning views of Mount Rainier, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Commencement Bay, Puget Sound, Vashon Island and other sights. In just over two months of operation last year, the Puyallup Air Terminal had more than 100 flights with almost 1,000 passengers.

“We are thrilled to bring more people to Ruston Way and continue our historic partnership with Kenmore Air,” said the Puyallup Tribal Council, the Tribe’s governing body. “Last year we started with fun, exciting scenic flights around the South Sound, and now the planes are going all the way to San Juan Island. We’re proud of the Puyallup Tribal Air Terminal and expect it will continue to be successful.”

“We are excited to be able to provide direct and convenient travel from the South Sound to San Juan Island while supporting the Puyallup Tribe’s tourism initiatives,” said David Gudgel, president of Kenmore Air. “We look forward to making trips to San Juan Island more accessible for outdoor and boating enthusiasts, families and all those seeking to experience this incredible region of the Pacific Northwest.”

“We are pleased Kenmore Air is expanding its service offerings to Tacoma and making the San Juans accessible to everyone seeking to set their mind to island time,” said Deborah Hoskinson, Executive Director at Visit San Juans. “We are also proud to support the Puyallup Tribe’s tourism initiatives and hope that this is the first of many partnership opportunities.”

With 25 aircraft in operation, 52 pilots on staff and more than 250 employees during peak season, Kenmore Air is among the best-known and most respected seaplane operators in the world. In the future, the partnership will begin 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 Chef Yamaguchi, the Tribe invested in liquid battery company Skip Technology, partnered with Amazon on a new sort center, purchased candy maker AMES International and started a new company, Tahoma Global Logistics, using its port property. Last June, 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 such partnership in FIFA World Cup history.

The partnership with Kenmore Air makes The Puyallup Tribe the only Tribe in the United States to bring seaplane services into its economic portfolio. 

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 6,000 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 $18 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.

About Kenmore Air

Founded in 1946, Kenmore Air is the largest seaplane airline in the United States, flying more than 90,000 passengers annually in its iconic de Havilland Beaver and Otter aircraft. In addition to providing scheduled flights to more than 45 water-based destinations throughout the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia, Kenmore Air’s wheeled aircraft operation, Kenmore Air Express, offers scheduled service between Boeing 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.

Leave a comment

Comments are welcome as long as they are civil, do not include personal attacks, and pertain to the subject. In order to avoid being overrun by spam, comments are reviewed before they are posted.