More than 100,000: That’s how many passengers went through the Wilmington International Airport in June.
The figure is a new monthly record for ILM with more than 50,000 arrivals and 50,000 departures in June, an overall increase of 15% from the same month the previous year, which had a combined total of more than 87,000 arriving and boarding travelers, according to statistics released this week.
Passenger numbers have been on a steady increase in the first half of 2019. Only one month this year, the month of February, showed a decrease from the previous month.
The airport has reached a total of just over 500,500 passengers so far in 2019.
Back in January, ILM announced that its annual passenger statistics for 2018 came in stronger than expected
. ILM exceeded just over 934,000 passengers that flew in and out of the airport last year.
Officials at the time were eyeing the next milestone: the 1 million passenger mark.
But Julie Wilsey, airport director at ILM, said it’s still early to tell if ILM will reach that milestone this year.
“We are watching the monthly statistics closely. It’s hard to predict the weather, airline operations and fleet management. We would love to break the 1 million passenger mark in December. It’s too early to have certainty,” Wilsey said in an email Friday.
ILM’s three carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, continue to “upgauge aircraft, adding seats for more passengers,” she said.
United Airlines is the newest addition to ILM, which was added last year.
“Our new destinations ... are being used by travelers,” Wilsey added.
The number of passengers through the airport has increased since several new flights started over the course of 2018. Last year, airlines added nonstop flights to Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Reagan National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Airport officials have attributed the added destinations to its overall record in 2018.
ILM has taken on a new air service consultant as of July 1, Wilsey said. It's "common practice" for the airport to put out a call for service contracts every few years, she said.
A request for proposals led to its new air service consulting firm Ailevon Pacific Aviation Consulting, a change from its former consultant Mead & Hunt. Ailevon Pacific has a three-year contract with the airport, she said.
"They visited in late June and will roll out a new air service strategy very soon," Wilsey said in her email Friday. "Their team looks at things much differently than our previous consultant. While we may not have any new carriers this calendar year, it’s going to be exciting to see their plan for marketing our region and ILM to the airlines and what we can do in 2020 and beyond."
In the meantime, work continues on ILM's terminal expansion project, which will grow the airport's footprint and capabilities to handle more through-traffic.
ILM has completed its first contract in the construction project and is now on the second phase of the project
ILM is on track to put contract three of the terminal expansion project out to bid in August with construction slated to start at the end of the year, Wilsey said.
The airport's parking areas are also being heavily utilized by travelers. To help travelers, ILM recently launched its new parking information system to notify those utilizing airport parking, which lots have available spaces.
“As a reminder for passengers, our morning peak from 5:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. is extremely busy. We highly recommend precheck and/or allowing extra time for the TSA checkpoint as the standard lane can back up,” Wilsey said.
The information is available in real-time and on the airport's website