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ILM Looks To Expand Aircraft Parking Area

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jun 2, 2021
The Wilmington International Airport has a new project out to bid that is proposed to expand the airport's apron to support more plane traffic that will come with its terminal expansion.

Estimated at more than $5 million, the proposed air carrier apron expansion aims to add about 16,400 square yards of additional pavement at the Wilmington International Airport (ILM) ramp space, Granseur Dick, ILM's facilities director said Wednesday.

The apron area is where the carriers' planes park near the terminal for passenger boarding and fueling.

The upcoming expansion is part of the third phase of the airport's $61 million terminal renovation and expansion project, which is still ongoing.

Bids for the project will be received until 2 p.m. June 22, according to ILM's website.

"The proposed air carrier apron expansion is additional concrete pavement for our commercial airlines to operate on around the expanded terminal," Dick said. "A lot of our apron that existed prior to the terminal expansion was consumed by the footprint of the expanded building. So this replaces that lost ramp space."

The last time the apron space was added was when the building was constructed in 1989, Dick said.

"This will allow us capacity for larger aircraft on the new passenger boarding bridges that will be located on the south end of the expanded terminal," Dick said. "It physically located just to the south edge of the new terminal building ... without the apron expansion, those two passenger boarding bridges located on the south end of the new terminal expansion [would be] restricted because there is not enough pavement to accommodate a larger aircraft than a small regional jet."

In the third phase of the expansion project, Dick said ILM is about two months ahead of schedule.

Work is being conducted to the main portion of the airport's growing footprint and new gates; all part of "schedule one" work in phase three. This portion of the project includes new circulation areas, at least two new gates and a new main restaurant space, and is anticipated to open in December.

Travelers through the airport will notice the changes past the security checkpoint, once opened, Dick said.

Construction has wrapped on installing windows on the new terminal building, and work is currently being conducted to place sheetrock in the interior. Later this month, other parts of the building, including plumbing and HVAC, are expected to come online inside the newly constructed space.

Much work, however, is still left to complete the expansion project, he said. The entire terminal expansion is anticipated to be completed in late 2022.
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