The number of airline passengers traveling to and from Wilmington International Airport reached an 18-year high in April.
The increase can be attributed in part to new flights that recently began at ILM through United Airlines
, one of the airport's three major carriers, which has established a ticket counter area and gate at ILM, said Gary Broughton, deputy airport director at ILM.
United Airlines began nonstop flights between ILM and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and ILM and Dulles/Washington D.C. (IAD) on April 9. United Airlines is now running two flights a day for each destination using 50-seat regional jets.
In April, airport numbers saw a bump in its passenger traffic -- the highest total for the month of April in the past 18 years -- with 38,675 departures and 38,733 arrivals reported at the airport, according to its April statistics
Last April, ILM had 35,158 departures and 34,799 arrivals. In 2000, the earliest year available for such statistics, the airport reported 23,801 departures and 23,544 arrivals.
Load factors for the newly added United flights are increasing, Broughton said. And with the addition of nonstop flights announced last week by American Airlines, that passenger traffic trend is likely to continue.
American Airlines announced May 31 that it would begin nonstop flights
to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), a year-round service, beginning Dec. 19. American began Saturday-only service this summer to DFW, through Aug. 18. These flights are the airline’s extension of a two-week trial period to DFW over the 2017 holidays.
American also began daily nonstop flights to Reagan National Airport (DCA) in May. And American's daily nonstop service to Chicago O’Hare (ORD), a summer seasonal service, will run June 7 through Sept. 4.
“We are pleased to offer more choices to our top destinations,” Broughton said of all the added flights. “We … thank our community for their support. The community support drives our success.”
Of the new flights and their impact on ILM, Broughton said, “An absolutely positive impact. ILM customers now have more options to meet their travel needs. There should be no impact to ingress or egress of the airport. As the airlines suggest, passengers should arrive two hours prior to departure.”