Wilmington International Airport had its most successful year ever in 2023. ILM experienced a 21% increase in passengers compared to 2022, with more than 1.3 million travelers passing through the airport. In 2022, the total number of passengers was 1,027,000.
The growth is attributed to low-cost airlines like Avelo and Sun Country, recently added to the ILM lineup, and the expansion of additional destinations. The number of direct flight options grew from 12 to 18 last year, making ILM the fastest-growing airport in North Carolina and the fourth fastest-growing airline in the entire nation.
Another obvious reason for the increase in passengers is the large number of new residents who moved here from other parts of the country, maintaining connections with friends and family back home, potentially leading to more travel.
Airport officials are confident that the record-breaking numbers set last year will be surpassed in 2024. Published reports suggest additional non-stop destinations will be added this year. While the locations have not been announced, sources indicate they will include more Northeast cities as well as locations in the Mountain and Pacific time zones.
The increase in passengers necessitates the airport to provide more services. In February, two national chain restaurants, Dunkin’ Donuts and Jimmy John’s, are scheduled to open venues in the terminal. Plans also include adding three more gates and a runway project expected to start later this year, along with the construction of a new parking deck scheduled to open by 2026.
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