More News

TOP STORY OF THE YEAR: ILM Takes Off With New Carriers, Business

By Miriah Hamrick, posted Dec 16, 2022
Wilmington International Airport Director Jeff Bourk said he sees recent business development deals building momentum for the future. (Photo by Madeline Gray)

Like many airports across the country, Wilmington International Airport took a hit from the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but this year the airport moved beyond recovery into growth mode.

ILM is on track to hit 1 million total passengers this year, as it did for the first time in 2019. In May, August, September and October, the airport logged some of the best numbers on record for those months.

The growth in passengers is fueled by a variety of factors, among them the addition of the airport’s first low-cost carriers connecting to new markets with cheap nonstop flights.

The airport announced its first low-cost carrier in April, and Avelo Airlines started service June 30 with routes to New Haven, Connecticut, and Orlando Florida, plus seasonal service to Baltimore. Within a month, Avelo announced a fourth seasonal route to Fort Lauderdale, which began in November. That same month, the airport landed a second low-cost carrier. Beginning in June, Sun Country Airlines will connect Wilmington to Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport for seasonal service through Labor Day weekend.

Legacy carriers American Airlines and Delta Air Lines also increased their operations at ILM with larger aircraft, plus Delta recently made its seasonal nonstop service to LaGuardia Airport a permanent route.

A new concourse that opened in February added more than 77,000 square feet and three gates to serve the flood of new passengers at ILM. Part of a yearslong expansion project initiated nearly a decade ago, the airport is also getting improved space for baggage claim and concessions.

This year also brought big news for business development on airport property, with airport officials inking deals for more than 100 acres of ground leases in the ILM Business Park. 84 Lumber and CIL Capital both made moves to expand their footprint near the airport, while ML ILM LLC (Moto Leader Global) plans to build a new warehouse hangar to house its operations.

This flurry of development, if the ground leases proceed, will net the airport nearly $2 million in additional annual income. Airport director Jeff Bourk said he sees these deals building momentum for more development on airport grounds.

“Momentum leads to momentum. It leads to good things,” Bourk said in an October interview with WilmingtonBiz Magazine.

The quick clip of development, plus the potential to keep growing, helped ILM snag a deal for a hotel on airport grounds this year, a longtime goal of airport officials.

Ico insights


Headshotrosaliecalarco 1182131047

A New Take on an Old Scam


Early Childhood Education: Invisible Infrastructure

Jane Morrow - Smart Start of New Hanover County
Dave sweyer 300 x 300

Insights into the 2023 Leasing Market in Wilmington, NC: What You Need to Know

Dave Sweyer - Sweyer Property Management

Trending News

EPA Makes $3B National Announcement At Port Of Wilmington

Audrey Elsberry - Feb 28, 2024

OsteoStrong Opens On College Road In Wilmington

Emma Dill - Feb 28, 2024

Patricia Kusek Resigns From Endowment Board

Audrey Elsberry - Mar 1, 2024

Polyhose To Double The Size Of Its Wilmington-area Facility

Emma Dill - Feb 29, 2024

Report Finds Economic, Environmental Impact Of N.C. Railroads

Audrey Elsberry - Feb 29, 2024

In The Current Issue

Born To Create Affordable Housing

The competition is stiff, and the work is hard, but Stephanie Norris wouldn’t give up her job for anything....

Fallout From Natural Disasters, Pandemic Puts Strain On Insurance Companies, Consumers

New arrivals to the North Carolina coast are often pleased with the amount of house they can buy here from the proceeds of their home in lar...

Book On Business

The 2024 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



2023 Power Breakfast: Major Developments