Kenmore Air opened its operations to citizens of the community and unveiled their newest hangar along the waterfront of Kenmore on May 12.
The new 14,000 square foot hangar has been a five-year in the making project and will be used to complete maintenance work on the DeHavilland Otter, very tall planes that could not fit into other hangars around Kenmore Air.
“So today we’re celebrating the completion of the hangar and an important part of the history of Kenmore and its legacy with the community,” said Rob Richey, director of maintenance. “I really want to thank the Banks family for the dedication of this business in providing us such a great place to work.”
For Kenmore Air, having the hangar not only means that the Otters will be more efficiently maintained, but that the mechanics of Kenmore Air will have a warm and safe place to work on the airplanes during the winter months.
“It’s a big project for our little company and as such it has symbolism to us in addition to its practical application. Kenmore Air started in 1946, three friends, a tiny Aeronca Model K and an idea. Today we average 150 employees, 22 aircraft, we have full service maintenance facility with a staff of 30 people, and this hangar really symbolizes that continued growth,” said Eric Ellison, chief inspector of Kenmore Air. “It also symbolizes our commitment to our employees. Kenmore has always attracted loyal and gifted people…We have a tradition of listening to our employees and giving them the tools they need to perform their craft. And this hangar is an example of that commitment.”
Not only will the hangar be used for maintenance of private aircraft at the Kenmore Air Harbor, but also perform maintenance of planes used in service of the Kenmore Air’s fleet.
During the ceremony, not only did Kenmore Mayor David Baker speak to the positive influence of Kenmore Air and the inclusion of the new hangar for the maintenance workers.
“I don’t know if Kenmore would be Kenmore without Kenmore Air because Kenmore Air is such an important asset to this community,” Baker said. “Now [maintenance workers] finally have a place they can work in the wintertime and stay dry so they are not subjected to the elements like they have been.”
“It’s fantastic, it’s just so nice to have over 200 people care about Kenmore and care about the company and actually plan a night out to be here to celebrate the hangar and the future of the community,” said Anna Gullickson, pilot of Kenmore Air and the event’s coordinator. “It’s just really nice to have a professional event for Kenmore to dedicate to their employees to show them we have a future, and to give them the best facilities they can have.”
Congresswoman Susan DelBene, representative of the first congressional district, was on hand to congratulate Kenmore Air on their hangar and their continued operation as one of the most highly regarded sea plane operations in the world.
“It’s an incredibly unique and iconic business. People know about Kenmore and a lot of times one of the things they think about is Kenmore Air. This is just an incredible opportunity for Kenmore Air to continue to grow and thrive. The facility allows them to continue their business – which is end to end from maintenance and creating equipment to running a full fledged airline in our region,” DelBene said. “Its great that they have been able to make this investment in our region and use that as an opportunity to continue to grow and build this business.”
For others at Kenmore Air, it’s just nice to know that the community of Kenmore appreciates they are in the city and there to stay.
“I’m a pilot and flight test engineer, so I’m passionate about airplanes. I love that [Kenmore Air’s] in our community and, I think, it’s part of Kenmore and our community,” said Stacey Denuski, Kenmore City Council member.
During the event, the Federal Aviation Administration also awarded Eric Ellison, chief inspector of Kenmore Air, by the Seattle district office for Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year.
“It’s quite an honor and I appreciate those FAA inspectors who have worked with us in the past just staying in the air and safety is a priority for us, so it’s helpful when they help us be safe and efficient,” said Ellison about being awarded.
The construction of the new hangar was completed by Talboy Construction, out of Boise, Idaho.