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Winter Weather Hinders Thursday Operations At ILM, Wilmington Port

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jan 4, 2018
The majority of flights at the Wilmington International Airport were tied up Thursday because of winter weather conditions.

Nearly all Delta and American Airline arrivals and departures were canceled Thursday, with the exception of a 6:10 p.m. Delta flight to Atlanta, according to Gary Broughton, deputy director at the Wilmington International Airport (ILM).

Airport officials, however, are still waiting to see if that flight maintains its position, Broughton said.

“With the weather the way it is up and down the East Coast, it’s not likely anything will be reinstated,” he said of Thursday flights.

The first flight on the books Friday morning is an American Airlines flight to Philadelphia, he said, adding that officials are staying connected with airlines about flight schedules, in hopes of resuming operations on Friday.

“Right now, we are not in such good condition … we are hoping to return to some normalcy tomorrow," Broughton said Thursday morning.

Attempts were made by crews overnight to clear snow and ice from the runway, and an outside vendor was also called in to keep up with efforts, he said. That work is ongoing. 

“The problem is the ice. Our folks have been working tirelessly,” Broughton said. If the snow does melt, he said, chances are there could be further issues with ice as temperatures are expected to drop below freezing Thursday night.

“We are going to keep our crew here and stay on top of it. Obviously, our goal is to have the airport open so that airlines can resume their schedules,” he said.

Airport officials are advising passengers to check with airlines about further flight cancellations and rebooking flights.

“We were told that the airlines are allowing to rebook without penalty," Broughton said. "We suggest they not wait to be called by the airline, but they contact the airline because flights will fill fast.”

ILM is also facing another issue. One of its two TSA X-ray security machines is down, with a part on the way, he said. Airport officials are expecting the arrival of a technician from Raleigh to fix the issue with hopes that the machine will be running again by Friday.

As it stood as of Thursday, ILM was down to one security lane. Broughton said any passengers would need to arrive two hours prior to their flight until the issue is resolved.

Port of Wilmington closes office, gates Thursday

The Port of Wilmington is also experiencing closures because of the weather. 

All offices and gates were closed Thursday, said Bethany Welch, spokeswoman with N.C. Ports. Vessel operations are ongoing.

On Friday, the port gates and offices were expected to operate on a two-hour delay. Vessel operation start times on Friday are to be announced, she said.

N.C. Port officials are monitoring the weather conditions and will update any further changes with social media, the N.C. Ports website and alerts to customers. 

"We want to make sure people are safe coming in and out of the port," she said.
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