Growth at Wilmington International Airport continues this year with ILM reporting another record-breaking month in September.
The airport logged 51,548 seats of outbound traffic in September, a 14% increase from the previous record set in September 2021 with 45,083 outbound passengers. Total passengers flying through ILM in September numbered 101,367.
As a destination market, summer months at ILM tend to see the highest volume of travelers. This year is no different, with numbers for May, August and now September exceeding previous records for those months.
August’s tally of 106,167 passengers was up 5% from the pre-pandemic record in August 2019. In May, departure traffic at the airport exceeded 52,000 seats, the second-highest month on record at ILM behind 55,710 seats of outgoing traffic in July 2021.
The July addition of low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines has boosted total passengers at the airport, with new nonstop routes to New Haven, Connecticut, Baltimore and Orlando running throughout the summer. While the seasonal Baltimore route has paused for the moment, Avelo’s routes to New Haven and Orlando continue with seasonal service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida beginning Nov. 11.
Another factor is increased passenger capacity from legacy carriers American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which began utilizing larger aircraft for routes out of Wilmington.
Like many businesses in the hospitality industry, the airport took a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. While 2019 was the strongest year to date for ILM with more than 1 million total passengers, numbers for 2020 and 2021 fell short of that mark despite steady recovery.
With nearly 788,000 total passengers flying through ILM so far this year, the airport is on track to potentially exceed 1 million travelers again in 2022.