The Working Waterfront

New owners for Penobscot Island Air

New Hampshire couple relocated to Matinicus

By Tom Groening
Posted 2023-12-01
Last Modified 2023-12-04

A business providing a vital link to Maine’s offshore islands has new owners. Sean and Andi Creeley, who are based in Portsmouth, N.H., purchased Penobscot Island Air in November from Terry Waters.

In a telephone interview, Sean Creeley said he expects little to change in the operation of the business, which was founded by Kevin Waters in 2004. Waters died suddenly three years ago, and his widow, Terry, has been running the business along with Ken Carle.

Creeley said his wife had vacationed on Matinicus, one of the islands served by PIA, as a child, and continued to visit as the couple started their own family. They have two young children.

When the COVID pandemic hit, the family purchased a house on the island, with Creeley acknowledging that they were very much part of the COVID migrant trend.

Creeley did not disclose the terms of the purchase, but credited Camden National Bank with providing assistance.

Creeley launched two technology firms, one in 2010, which he sold in 2016, and then another in 2018, which sold to Spotify, an online music streaming service, in 2021. He remains a production director for Spotify, he said.

Creeley has no prior experience in aviation, he said, but explained the purchase came for “somewhat selfish reasons,” as he and his wife want to see the business continue to thrive.

“It’s an unbelievable resource, and we want to see it be able to continue,” he said. “The team at PIA is very good at flying planes,” he said. “They do this flawlessly.”

Islanders and others rely on the air service to deliver mail and other freight, take islanders to medical appointments on the mainland, and to provide transport when ferries aren’t running.

The staff is expected to remain in place. Most of the company’s flights are chartered.

There are 20-30 employees, Creeley said, peaking in summer when vacationers and seasonal homeowners travel to and from the islands.

PIA’s fleet includes eight Cessnas, he said. The company also operates Katahdin Air, which includes float planes that serve Northern Maine.

Creeley added that PIA is now actively looking to hire a general manager. He expects to manage advertising, marketing, and technology, while the new GM would handle the day-to-day operations.

“The goal is to increase enplanements to Vinalhaven, Islesboro, and Matinicus,” he said. “We want to make it so flying is the preferred choice.”