Authorities report bounce at Wilmington International Airport
NEW HANOVER COUNTY – The New Hanover County Airport Authority is forecasting a turnaround in the amount of local air traffic, according to its annual presentation to the Council of Commissioners scheduled for Aug. 23.
While the number of inbound seats on planes bound for Wilmington International Airport in June 2021 was comparable to June 2019, the airport saw more passengers in July and August 2021 when comparing the same windows in 2019 .
There were approximately 58,000 passengers bound for ILM in July 2019; in July 2021, that number was up 11.5% to 65,000 passengers. August 2019 saw 60,000 inbound passengers; There have already been 65,000 inbound passengers to ILM this month, an increase of 7.9%, according to the airport authority presentation.
These increases followed sharp declines last year, July and August 2020, seeing 31,000 and 37,000 inbound travelers, respectively.
Boardings at the airport are also showing a rebound. Traffic in 2019 recorded 538,014 boardings; last year that number fell by more than half to 237,676, according to the presentation, although by 2021 there have already been around 400,000 boardings.
The airport authority and a search committee are in the process of selecting a new airport manager, following the ousting of former manager Julie Wilsey this summer. ILM is also growing with a $ 61 million terminal expansion underway expected to end at the end of next year.
The expansion includes the addition of three new doors, which are expected to be open by the end of the year.
The airport authority has also reported a change in the popularity of major travel hubs. The number of passengers on flights from Charlotte fell when comparing 2019 (77,000 seats) and 2021 (67,000 seats).
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, by contrast, has filled 23,000 seats on flights to ILM so far this year; in 2019, this airport delivered 7,000 passengers to ILM.
Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC has also increased its flights to ILM, filling 5,000 seats on flights in 2019 and 12,000 seats already this year.
According to the presentation, ILM’s total economic impact in 2019 was $ 2.25 billion, including 16,385 jobs and $ 85 million in state and local tax revenue.
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