The number of travelers flying in and out of the Wilmington International Airport in January were the lowest since last summer, according to figures released by the airport this month.
Overall passenger figures at the Wilmington International Airport (ILM) for the month of January were down 61% from the same month the previous year. There were 30,400 inbound and outbound travelers in January compared to a total of 79,200 passengers in January 2020.
Figures since the COVID-19 pandemic, which plummeted to their lowest point in April, have been trending up. The last period during which figures were as low as they were in January was in June, which saw just over 21,200 passengers fly in and out of ILM.
Nearly 14,400 people departed Wilmington in January this year, compared to nearly 39,700 departures the previous January. And just over 16,000 travelers arrived in Wilmington in January, down from the nearly 39,500 travelers that same month last year.
The number of travelers tend to trend down for the month of January as it is, airport officials said.
"If you look at our historical monthly statistics, January typically has fewer passengers than the other months," Wiley said, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting overall travel and the airline industry.
"While we are still experiencing improved passenger loads, the trend aligns with the increase in COVID cases and heightened restrictions imposed across the U.S. following the 2020 holiday season," she said.
ILM officials are hopeful, however, trends will pick up this summer. Already, the airport has announced the return to its schedule, a seasonal Saturday nonstop service between ILM and Boston Logan International Airport
American Airlines had announced the nonstop flight destination early last year, although those flights never took off last spring because of the pandemic.
For the Boston flight this summer, American Airlines will run a 67-seat regional jet, scheduled to arrive in Wilmington at 2:45 p.m. and depart Wilmington at 2:55 p.m. each Saturday, from June 5 through Aug. 14, Wilsey said.
Typically, the airlines publish flight schedules 60 days in advance, she said, adding, "We were glad to see American announce the Boston flight early to allow our customers to start booking the flight."
In the meantime, work continues still on ILM's $61 million terminal expansion and renovation project while the foot-traffic is still somewhat slow. The airport is now in the third phase of the development, which is slated to be completed in late 2022.
"The weather has been challenging for outside work, yet they are installing the roof and windows to close in the expansion area. Some of the new terrazzo floors are done in the atrium and rental car area. They look similar to the ticketing area," Wilsey said. "A lot of progress has been made inside the terminal and on the expansion area."