Coming off a record year in 2018, the Wilmington International Airport has started 2019 with an all-time high in its January passenger statistics.
The number of travelers through the airport reached more than 70,100 inbound and outbound passengers in January, a 25 percent bump from January 2018, which was at nearly 56,000.
Airport officials said Monday that significant drivers for the airport’s record in January include the American Airlines routes added in the last half of 2018, as well as the United Airlines service that started in April.
In total, ILM added five new nonstop flights between the two carriers last year. United, the airport's newest carrier, brought in nonstop flights to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. American Airlines started a seasonal daily nonstop to Chicago and a daily nonstop to Washington D.C., as well as a daily nonstop to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the airline's latest addition in December.
ILM is still seeing the effects of those additional flights in its numbers overall, compared to this same time last year when the flights had yet to begin, airport officials said.
January’s departures at ILM reached nearly 35,300 passengers, a 24 percent increase from the more than 28,500 passengers leaving the airport last January. There were more than 34,800 arrivals last month, an increase of 27 percent from the more than 27,400 passengers that arrived at ILM in January 2018.
Last month, airport officials announced
that just over 934,000 passengers flew in and out of the airport in 2018. That was up 12 percent over the previous annual record of 836,600 passengers served in 2017.
At the time, airport officials attributed the round of new flights last year to its record year. They now have their sights set on ILM's next potential milestone, the 1 million-passenger mark.
In addition, the airport's terminal expansion is set to add to the growing trend in the coming years. ILM is making headway on the three-part expansion and improvement project, with its first round of work slated to end in March and its second contract, awarded this month
, set to begin in April.