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Wilmington Airport's Economic Impact Totals $1.8 Billion

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jan 8, 2019
Wilmington International Airport contributes an economic impact of $1.8 billion, according to a recent report on the state’s aviation industry.

The latest report released Monday by the N.C. Department of Transportation called, North Carolina: The State of Aviation, shows much about the state of the local regional airport including jobs, tax revenues and labor income.

ILM officials said Tuesday that the report will be utilized in future airline recruitment, and is a telling sign of the impact of some of its successes last year.

ILM was reported to have contributed to nearly 13,000 jobs, labor income of $455.7 million and $66.8 million in local and state tax revenues.

Mainly, “it’s growth, which we’ve certainly improved our impact on the economy,” said Gary Broughton, ILM's deputy airport director. “I think a lot of that, of course, is adding another carrier -- that in turn creates more jobs.”

Growth at the airport through business is also a contributor to the numbers this year, in which Broughton noted the airport hanger built by Live Oak Bank in 2017 and its added aircraft, which has increased the tax revenues, he said.

ILM, reaching an overall record of passengers this year, is still waiting on the final numbers of its annual report. However, November's passenger statistics put ILM's year-to-date-total above what was reported in 2017 overall.

The airport will continue to enhance its air service development this year, Broughton said.

The report also notes ILM's eight nonstop destinations and the addition of United Airlines to its list of carriers, which it achieved last year. 

“In 2019, we will continue to focus on the airport expansion and our continued efforts of growth,” Broughton said.

The airport's annual cargo was reported at about 1,760 tons. That's of the more than 850,000 tons worth more than $23 billion reported overall in the state.

Out of the 10 commercial carriers listed in the report, Ashville Regional airport is just below ILM with a $1.5 billion economic output. The next above ILM was Piedmont Triad International in Greensboro, which had an economic output of $5.8 billion.

The highest overall economic output generated by a commercial airport in the state was Charlotte Douglas International, which had an output of about $23 billion.

The report, which highlights the economic impacts of the state’s public airports and the related aviation and aerospace assets that support North Carolina’s aviation economy, includes information from 72 publically owned airports.

According to the release, the report contains data compiled and analyzed for NCDOT by N.C. State University's Institute for Transportation Research and Education. It's created the report to help NCDOT guide future investment in aviation infrastructure and as a recruitment tool for aviation and aerospace industries.
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