Terminal Expansion

Growth is all around us.  Our community’s population is growing.  Passenger travel through ILM is growing.  And air service at ILM is growing, with the addition of new routes and new airlines.  In order to help accommodate this growth, and provide an exceptional airport experience for our customers, the Wilmington International Airport is expanding our terminal

2018 marked the beginning of the Terminal Expansion Project.  The NC General Assembly appropriated $11.8 M to jumpstart the project and get design underway.  Once complete, the ILM terminal will grow by 75%, expanding to 162, 800 SF.  The expansion will provide more room for more travelers and amenities.  Travelers can still expect rocking chairs, a more relaxed vibe, and friendly staff.

ILM’s terminal expansion is comprised of three construction phases spanning approximately 4+ years.

Current exterior
Proposed exterior

Curious to learn more? Below you will find information about the three phases of the expansion.  ILM will share updates on the project’s progress through social media and our e-blast.

  • Phase 1:  The first phase of the terminal expansion will focus on things you may not see but are vital to getting you and your suitcase to your destination on time.  This first phase adds a new outbound bag room and screening equipment.  It will provide a safer and more efficient system for scanning and delivering bags from the ticket counter to the aircraft.  This initial phase will be “behind the scenes” and mostly out of public view.  Passengers may notice occasional noise and vibrations as construction occurs.  Local firm, Monteith Construction broke ground on the 1st phase Oct. 2018 and concluded the project March 2019.
  • Phase 2: The second phase of the terminal expansion will renovate the airlines’ ticket offices, expand the circulation areas around check-in kiosks, and install a state of the art baggage system for checked luggage.  During this phase, there will be more room for the check-in kiosks, the ticket counters will change, and the color scheme will be refreshed.  There will be new flooring as well.  With these changes, the ILM legacy southern coastal charm will be retained, with elements of wrought iron and wainscoting.  While adding room for passenger growth, additional space will also be added to welcome a potential fourth airline and charter operators.  This way, ILM is ready for a new airline if they choose to provide service to ILM in the future.  During the second phase, the public will notice construction work as we expand the airline ticket lobby, ticket counters and ticket officesOverall, there will be approximately 15,000SF of new space for airline operations and passengers.  The 2nd phase began April of 2019 and its anticipated completion date is summer of 2020.
  • Phase 3:  The third phase is the largest and most dynamic portion of the expansion project and encompasses the gate area, the TSA checkpoint, and baggage claim. The expanded gate area will add 4 new gates, each with new passenger loading bridges and seating areas.  The gate area will include expanded concessions space and a new restaurant and bar; providing passengers with additional food and beverage choices.  The centerpiece of the gate area will include a welcoming gathering space which will open to natural light and offer wide views of the airfield.  This phase will also expand the TSA checkpoint; containing 3 lanes (2 standard and 1 precheck). There will also be enhancements to the baggage claim area.  Further updates will include a service animal relief area and family restrooms.  During this third phase travelers will see the changes as approximately 60,000 SF of new terminal space is added, the TSA checkpoint is expanded, a new concourse and gate seating is added as well as new restaurant/retail space.  It is anticipated this phase will begin in the late fall/early winter of 2020 and conclude in the winter of 2022. This phase will require local, State appropriations and Federal grants to complete.

Stay tuned as we expand our terminal to best meet the needs of our growing community, passengers, and air service providers!