Puyallup Tribe, Kenmore Air announce flights to San Juan Island

Puyallup Tribe, Kenmore Air announce flights to San Juan Island

PUYALLUP RESERVATION, Tacoma, Wash.— The second season of Kenmore Air flights from the new Puyallup Tribal Air Terminal on Ruston Way opens May 16 with new routes that link South Sound destinations such as Emerald Queen Casino to beautiful San Juan Island.

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 depart from Ruston Way at 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. with the return flights arriving at 11:45 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. The direct service flights are $269 per person one-way and 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.

“The first year of the Puyallup Air Terminal was a huge success and will continue to be a success with the addition of flights to San Juan Island,” said the Puyallup Tribal Council, the Tribe’s governing body. “We are excited for the future of Ruston Way and our partnership with Kenmore Air.”

“Kenmore Air is thrilled to continue our partnership and collaboration with the Puyallup Tribe with our new direct flight service from Tacoma to the picturesque San Juan Island,” said David Gudgel, president of Kenmore Air. “We both share a dedication to providing unmatched convenience and accessibility to the San Juan Islands and enhancing regional connectivity. This partnership underscores our mutual desire to elevate travel experiences and foster growth in the region, and we look forward to the growth path ahead.”

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 Yamaguchi, the Tribe 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.