ILM reports record year; airport authority looks to expand

ILM reports record year; airport authority looks to expand

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - During the New Hanover County Airport Authority's annual report Wednesday, board members reported a record-breaking year.

ILM served a record 817,896 passengers in 2016, and passenger counts are trending upward again this year.

Chairman Tom Wolfe said the increased traffic calls for expansion. Wolfe said the authority is looking to add a terminal, but added it may take several years.

In Wednesday's meeting, the authority discussed the proposed House budget, which increases funds to commercial airports across North Carolina. ILM would be slated to receive nearly $25 million in the two-year budget cycle.

Wolfe said that money would go toward expansion.

"We've got to be proactive. Now, this won't take place for probably eight years, but we want to be funding this as it comes forward," Wolfe said. "Whether we'll use these funds to go into a fund for that or to pay off debt, I don't know. But we will wisely use that money."

The board also discussed ILM's successful week during the Wells Fargo Golf Championship. Most players flew commercial, and some golfers benefitted from a $350,000 renovation at Air Wilmington.

"We were ready for them," Wolfe said. "This was a community effort. I remember when I was a county commissioner we talked about things that needed to be done because we recognized the economic impact that this particular group could bring us."

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