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November 10, 2023

Penobscot Island Air, Katahdin Air sold to New England tech leader

Courtesy / Penobscot Island Air Penobscot Island Air, which had been run by the Waters family, was sold Nov. 1.

Penobscot Island Air and Katahdin Air, which had long been run by the Waters family, have been sold to a tech entrepreneur and product director at audio streaming company Spotify.

Sean Creeley, who has a seasonal residence on Matinicus Island, acquired the air services Nov. 1 from their employees, who had owned the businesses for two years through an employee stock-ownership plan.

Previously, they were owned by Terry Waters, the widow of pilot Kevin Waters, who founded Penobscot Island Air in 2004. He died in July 2020.

News of the sale was first reported by the Bangor Daily News

In a phone call, Terry Waters confirmed information about the deal to Mainebiz. She will stay on until a general manager can be hired.

"Today marks a new beginning for Penobscot Island Air. After 19 years, we have decided to pass the torch to new ownership, effective November 1st, 2023," the company posted on Facebook.

"[Penobscot Island Air] was Kevin's dream. He took it from one leased plane, operating out of a construction hangar surrounded by hay bales, to a fleet serving the islands of Penobscot Bay. Kevin loved the islands, and the islands loved him right back, which made his all-too-soon passing devastating for all of us. I appreciate all your support in helping us navigate the last three years."

By the end of the year, the airline hopes to be moved into a larger, state-of-the-art hangar — a project that had been part of Kevin Waters' vision. 

In the Facebook post, the company said the new owner is committed to year-round island service. 

Owls Head-based Waters Aero Marine operates two air services, Penobscot Island Air and Katahdin Air. It specializes in last-mile delivery to remote locations, according to the website. Penobscot Island Air services the islands of Penobscot Bay with air taxi, mail and freight services. It has a fleet of six Cessna aircraft. 

More on the buyer

The buyer, Creeley, is the founder of Podsights, which was acquired last year by the digital music service Spotify, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Creeley has an extensive background as an application developer and engineering. He graduated from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in computer systems and electrical engineering.

Earlier this year, Creeley was in the process of opening Good to be Kneaded, which is described as a bagels-and-cocktails spot in a former Getty gas station in Portsmouth, N.H., according to

Kevin Waters, right, founded Penobscot Island Air in 2004 after another air carrier closed. He died July 5, 2020.

Need for air service

Penobscot Island Air has been a key source of transportation and freight hauling for the islands of Penobscot Bay. 

At the time Kevin Waters died in July 2020, a Matinicus resident, Suzanne Rankin, said Penobscot Island Air was a lifeline for the offshore island, which has limited ferry service. 

“We’re the most remote island on the Eastern Seaboard,” Rankin told Mainebiz in July 2020. “Without air service, you can’t get groceries, you can’t get medicines. When the previous owner closed, it wasn’t just that we weren’t getting Christmas cards. You weren’t getting your heart medication.”

Rankin was part of a small group that convinced Waters to launch service to the island after the closing of Maine Aviation, in 2004. Matinicus residents helped raise $17,000 to launch the Waters-led Penobscot Island Air. 

“He flew everything, from babies to goats," Ranklin said in 2020. "He flew UPS, FedEx, U.S. mail. He came to people’s graduations. He knew the babies. He knew who got married."

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November 15, 2023

i really hope this new ownership carries on Kevin Waters legacy.

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