Jimmy John’s, Dunkin’ to be added to ILM; officials discuss $165 million in projects

The Authority voted on March 1 to award a contract to Faber to bring Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s to the airport by the end of the year.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:34 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:27 AM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Officials with the Wilmington International Airport discussed their 5-Year Vision Plan at a news conference on March 2, along with a contract with Faber to bring Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s to the airport.

The Authority voted on March 1 to award a contract to Faber to bring Dunkin’ and Jimmy John’s to the airport by the end of the year.

Improvements to the terminal curb front, Airport Blvd., parking, runway and taxiway, and infrastructure are planned over the next five years. The new terminal’s capacity is 552,000 enplanements or about 1.1 million passengers, and they plan to expand the terminal further in the coming years.

With the recent ILM Business Park expansion, the airport expects increased revenues from ground leases. ILM plans to further expand the Business Park and expand the Aero Park in the future.

To pay for this, the airport plans to use already committed federal and state grants along with passenger facility charges and customer facility charges, totaling $106 million. ILM says this funding is not from local taxpayers, but is instead made by the aviation system and must be used for the airport.

The balance will be funded with $20 million of reserves, $30 million from discretionary sources and $10-$20 million from debt financing.

“We’re trying to catch up, but we also know that growth is going to continue,” said ILM Airport Director Jeff Bourk. “So, we want to get a little ahead of it if we can. So, that’s really what this plan does, but it’s not a aggressive plan in terms of ‘build it, they will come’ kind of thing. It’s really just trying to put ourselves in a place where we can support growth with without being constrained or being behind the curve.”

ILM also reviewed its progress over the past year, including five new nonstop routes to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, New Haven, Baltimore and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Delta also offered non-stop service to Boston.

In total, the airport served 1,086,245 passengers last year and expects almost 15 percent growth through 2023.

Airport Authority Chairman Spruill Thompson says while he wants to see ILM evolve in the next five years, the plan cannot be set in stone.

“We’re going to have to adjust it annually to make sure that we’re doing just that,” said Thompson. “And as Jeff described earlier, there will be some changes to the plan and some modifications based on what things cost at that time, how we prioritize things, how the grants are issued.”

You can watch the full press conference in the live stream recording below beginning at 4:25.