Countdown is on until United Airlines takes off at ILM

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — United Airlines will soon be Wilmington International Airport’s latest addition.

Thursday night an executive with the airline was the keynote speaker at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting.

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From giving out a lifetime achievement award to Fred Eshelman, to going over the Chamber’s accomplishments from last year, to learning more about United Airlines, the meeting was very eventful.

Grant Whitney, United Airlines’ Vice President of Domestic Network Planning, went over why they chose ILM.

“It’s a thriving community that we have long been looking at,” Whitney said. “We’re excited about both the business component of Wilmington but also the leisure component of Wilmington.”

Right now ILM has American Airlines and Delta Airlines. However, starting April 9 that is going to change. United Airlines will being four flights a day.

“Two flights going to Chicago each day and we have two flights going to Washington Dulles each day,” Airport Director, Julie Wilsey said.

Wilsey said United will not only bring more options for travelers, but more jobs and economic growth.

“We’re a very strong business community,” Wilsey said. “We’re also a very big tourism industry. And of course we have residents who live here who want to travel abroad and throughout the U.S. So tickets have been for sale since November they’re selling pretty well. And we think it’s good for both people who want to get to Wilmington and people who live here who travel for both business and leisure.”

Growing business and tourism, along with the Port City itself, are just a few of the many reasons why United chose ILM.

“We’re gonna bring customers to Wilmington who’ve flown on United for many, many years. And we also look forward to taking people from Wilmington not only domestically in the United States but also globally,” Whitney said.

Wilsey said in a recent two year study the airport’s economic impact on the region was $1.6 billion. With the latest addition, Wilsey hopes that trend will only continue to grow.

As for staffing the new airline, United will be hiring from within the area.