Island Airlines

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Island Airlines
Island Air logo
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded1930 (1930)
Ceased operationsDecember 11, 2015 (December 11, 2015)
HeadquartersBarnstable, Massachusetts

Island Airlines was a commuter airline headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport in Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States which operated hourly scheduled flights between the island of Nantucket and Hyannis, Massachusetts. Island Airlines (Hyannis) along with its sister company, Cape & Islands Air Freight, ceased operations on December 11, 2015.[1] The company slogan was Nantucket's Community Airline.


Milton "Red" Hersberger (December 19, 1901 – August 18, 1987),[2] a former Chicago barnstormer, developed the first aerial transport to the island in 1930, beginning with two biplanes, and acquiring his first Ford Trimotor in 1932. He called the operation Erie Isle Airways. His first Trimotor was purchased after it had crashed in the mountains near Pittsburgh; after it was repaired and put into operation, it was so useful that four other examples soon joined the fleet.[3] After World War II, Hersberger was able to buy several hundred surplus engines from the US government for use in the Trimotors; they cost fifteen dollars each.

Hersberger renamed the airline Sky Tours[4] and sold it in 1953.. It was sold again in 1973. It received its current name in 1991 when ownership of the operation was assumed by William McGrath.[5][3]

Ocean Wings[edit]

Island Airlines operated Ocean Wings Air Charter providing private flights across the Northeast on their fleet of Beechcraft King Air, Cessna 414 and Cessna 402 aircraft.[6] Ocean Wings was based on Nantucket out of Nantucket Memorial Airport and White Plains, New York out of Westchester County Airport.[7]

Cape & Islands Air Freight[edit]

A division of Island Airlines, Cape & Islands Air Freight, provided freight service between Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Hyannis, MA and New Bedford, MA. Cape & Island Air Freight also went out of business effective December 11, 2015.[8]

Former fleet[edit]

An Island Airlines Caravan over Nantucket

As of June 2013, Island Air's fleet consisted of the following aircraft:

Type Fleet Passengers Use
Cessna 208 Caravan 5 8 (+1 In co-pilot seat when not in use) Commuter
Cessna 402 3 8 (+1 In co-pilot seat when not in use) Charter
Beechcraft King Air C90 2 6 Charter
Cessna 414 1 6 Charter
Cessna 402 1 6 Charter

Cessna Grand Caravans[edit]

In January 2009, Island Airlines announced the addition of a Grand Caravan to their fleet, becoming the first airline in over 30 years to add a new type of aircraft to the Hyannis/Nantucket route. The airline has since added three more Grand Caravans and plans to eventually transition to an all-Caravan fleet. Island Airlines was the only airline flying this type of aircraft between Hyannis and Nantucket, a market traditionally dominated by the twin–engine Cessna 402.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wilder, Charlotte (December 11, 2015). "Nantucket's Island Airlines shutting down, effective immediately". Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Milton "Red" Hersberger
  3. ^ a b The Little Airline of the Lake, Air & Space/Smithsonian, February/March 1987, pp. 50-56
  4. ^ "Sky Tours". Airline History. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  5. ^ Archived June 15, 2013, at
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Archived May 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Archived May 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°40′5.43″N 70°17′19.28″W / 41.6681750°N 70.2886889°W / 41.6681750; -70.2886889