WILMINGTON, NC (NC) - The debate between the ILM International Airport and Aero Services continued Tuesday evening. Once again, Aero Services entered the meeting backed by a loyal following of Wilmington pilots. Earlier this month the longtime 'mom and pop' hangar was voted off airport property.
After close to two hours of heated debate Tuesday, the two sides closed discussion without coming to any type of resolution. At the end of the meeting, nothing had changed – Aero Services was still going to be leaving the ILM property.
Pilots have already said they will move their airplanes from the property if Aero Services is forced to leave. That sentiment was echoed Tuesday night.
"There will be a large majority of people that will probably go to Southport or go to Wallace or go to other locations and end up driving which is sad because we all live within 15-20 minutes of Wilmington," said Captain Byron Macrae, a commercial pilot who grew up learning to fly with Aero Services.
Macrae and others at the meeting accused ILM airport management for not staying committed to general aviation.
Airport Director Jon Rosboroughresponded stating that the airport had added ramp space, LED lighting, and custom facilities specifically for general aviation purposes.
"Over the last 15 years we've spent over $14 million in terms of infrastructure. If we didn't have a love for general aviation, we wouldn't be doing that," Rosborough stated.
Rosborough said the new company coming to replace Aero Services, the Brixtel Group, will have a plane repair station and flight school on their complex.
"What's done is done. Our voices are being heard, but I feel like the airport authority and the board could have done better to make it easier for a local person," Macrae said.
That Brixtel Group is set to take over the space on June 1.