Terminal Expansion

ILM embarked upon the $69 million terminal expansion project to increase capacity, allowing the airport to meet the growing demand and best serve travelers, as well as our airline and aviation partners.  The project was completed in phases and included: adding a new outbound bag room and screening equipment, expanding the airline ticket lobby, ticket counters and ticket office, adding new gate space, new gate seating, new restrooms, and new concession space.   Further, it updated the baggage carousel area, rental car area, and remodeled the prior gate area.  From the time the project started to its completion, in September of 2023, ILM welcomed two new airlines, Sun Country and Avelo, doubled its nonstop routes, and welcomes a record 1,086,245 million passengers in 2022.  The airport projects nearly 1.3 million passengers will utilize ILM in 2023.  Further, based on airline investment in ILM and added seat capacity, ILM is NC’s fastest growing airport and the 3rd fastest in the U.S.

In addition to adding capacity, the terminal expansion project was an opportunity to create a sense of place as the airport serves as a gateway to the region.  The newly expanded terminal utilizes design features and incorporates public art to create a sense of place and highlight the unique amenities of southeastern NC.  The new concourse features high arches and architectural tresses that are reflective of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge.  Coastal shades of blue, reflective of the nearby ocean, are incorporated in the LED lighting and throughout the terminal.  Southern charm is featured in the wainscoting, wroth iron, and ILM’s famous rocking chairs.

To make a lasting first and last impression, the airport, in collaboration with the Arts Council, selected and commissioned three pieces of public art from area artists.  A large Venus Flytrap terrazzo floor design is featured in the airport lobby.  This unique carnivorous plant is native to the Cape Fear Region; only growing within 100 miles of Wilmington.  Post-security, “Loggerhead Labyrinth” showcases the area’s natural beauty and a metal sculpture of a laurel oak tree creates a park like feel in the open space.

Prior exterior
Current exterior

ILM’s terminal expansion project was truly a collaborative construction and design effort with numerous companies involved.  The project was funded from a diverse stream of revenue.  Of the $69 million project costs, ILM received $40 million in federal funds, $16 million in state funds, and $13 million came from local/other funds.  ILM appreciates our federal, state, and local partners that were instrumental in bringing this project to life.

ILM is now looking ahead to the next expansion of the new terminal, allowing the airport to meet the growing demand.