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AIRE manufactures whitewater rafts in Meridian

Posted at 10:39 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 16:42:14-04

MERIDIAN, Idaho — AIRE is one of the leading manufacturers of whitewater rafts, but this company, based out of Meridian, makes flotation vessels for fishing and helps out the environment.

AIRE was founded in 1989 when a few whitewater enthusiasts decided to make a different kind of raft.

"They came together and made the first one in a garage, they stayed up all night then took it floating the next day," said Dan Allumbaugh. "It's a really good story."

AIRE pioneered the two-layer system, the inner layer holds the air, allowing AIRE to make the outer layer out of a more robust PVC material.

"Performance-wise, it is a lot better," said Dan Allumbaugh. "

Allumbaugh came on board in 1995 and headed up Outcast Sporting Gear, a division of Aire that focuses on fishing floatation.

Fishing rafts, kayaks and other vessels quickly grew in popularity that AIRE had a hard time keeping up with the demand, and to this day, they are one of the leaders in that industry as well whitewater rafts.

But this company also focuses on taking care of mother nature, and the third stool of this business is called AIRE Environmental.

"It was based on this idea of leave no trace," said Alex Aldecoa, who grew up as a raft guide on the famous Middle Fork of the Salmon. "We want to protect those rivers, waterways and groundwater so we can enjoy all of the sports that we love."

AIRE Environmental makes spill containment products, diversion tubes that help guard against flooding and they even make inflatable tanks for firefighters.

In addition to helping out the environment, AIRE also welds its products, which means they don't use any glue or any other harmful chemicals in their manufacturing process, helping the company protect its workers.

"Our employees are the companies biggest asset without them we wouldn't be anywhere," said Allumbaugh. "I think the average person has been here for 12-15 years."

AIRE also wants to protect their customers, and their whitewater rafts have one of the best warranties in the business, AIRE rafts come with a ten-year no-fault warranty.

"It makes sense because it is kind of a big investment upfront, but we love to take care of our customers," said Aldecoa. "We pride ourselves on the durability and reliability of our boats, and we want to make sure everybody is getting out on the water in a safe and fun way.

AIRE is an acronym that stands for Argonat, Inflatables, Research and Engineering.