The last outbound flights at the Wilmington International Airport will take place Wednesday, as the airlines begin to cancel schedules ahead of Hurricane Florence, a Category 3 storm making its way to the Carolina coast.
Several inbound and outbound flights
at ILM were already canceled Wednesday. Airport officials Wednesday morning announced the last outbound flights for its three carriers, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and American Airlines.
“The airlines do plan to stop their flights at some point today,” said Gary Broughton, deputy airport director at ILM.
United Airlines flight 3964 to Chicago at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday will be the last departure for the carrier, Broughton said. American's last departure Wednesday, flight 1711, is scheduled at 6:08 p.m. to Charlotte. And Delta flight 4083 to Atlanta is the last, scheduled at 6:20 p.m., he said.
“Obviously we still recommend checking with the airlines," Broughton said. "They’re obviously watching the weather as is everyone else."
With the departures of American and United on Wednesday, Broughton said that those flights will be the last until possibly Saturday, pending the outcome of the storm. As of Wednesday morning, ILM was still waiting to hear the plans for Delta.
ILM is in the process of getting the airport ready for the storm.
Some staff will be sheltering at the airport as it works to keep the runways and taxiways open in anticipation of the restart of flights or if the airport should be needed to bring in emergency supplies, Broughton said.
"Our goal is to keep the runways and taxiways open ... to be able to have facilities open for inbound and outbound aircraft as soon as they are able to fly," he said.
While the number of flights are narrowing down throughout the day, the airport's rental car companies plan to have cars available Wednesday for one-way rentals, Broughton said.
"All the rental cars that are housed at the airport ... they seem to be doing quite a bit of business," Broughton said. "Right now there are a lot of rental cars going out, and again, those are one-way rentals because getting back here could be a challenge."
Broughton said that ILM is trying to keep the information on its website as up-to-date as possible, but advised people to also check with airline websites or call the airlines' numbers.