Last month was an all-time record-breaking month for Wilmington International Airport.
ILM saw 67,110 outbound passengers in June – 36% more than last June and “exceeding any month ever recorded by 25%,” an ILM spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
Total passengers for June were 134,256, a 37% jump from last June. So far this year, total outbound passengers are up 27% over the previous calendar year, according to the spokesperson.
That sets ILM on pace to potentially break its annual record again. In 2022, ILM beat its 2019 all-time annual passenger record by about 1% when it tallied more than 1 million total passengers.
Accelerating the latest boost – aside from growth and favorable economic headwinds in the region – is the recent arrival of low-cost carriers. ILM welcomed its first low-cost carrier, Avelo Airlines, last summer, and in June, its second low-cost carrier, Sun Country Airlines, hosted its inaugural flight to Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Last week, legacy carrier American Airlines announced it would launch a nonstop flight to Miami, Florida, which will begin in November.
In all, ILM will have more than doubled its total routes in less than two years. Since 2022, ILM has seen carriers add 10 new routes, compared to the nine total routes available before.
The spokesperson noted that parking and rental car revenue are both up compared to last year, “which indicates there are more outbound travelers and more visitors coming to our market as well."
Airport officials had indicators the wave of enhanced demand was coming. Carriers plan and book flights several months in advance, which offers insights into the demand and number of seats available. In May, airport officials shared available seats were up 32% for flights between January and September 2023, which placed ILM third in the country for seat growth. The latest jump in seat capacity can be attributed to larger aircraft being used which accommodate more seats, more carriers at ILM and new nonstop flights, according to the spokesperson.
“All of the new service by Avelo and Sun Country, as well as the new nonstops and growth in service by American, Delta, and United have contributed to the exceptional June passenger numbers,” said airport director Jeff Bourk. “I expect July to be even stronger.”
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