Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport

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Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport
New Castle Airport - Delaware.jpg
2006 USGS aerial photo
Airport type Public
Owner New Castle County, Delaware
Operator Delaware River and Bay Authority
Serves Wilmington, Delaware
Focus city for Frontier Airlines[1]
Elevation AMSL 80 ft / 24 m
Coordinates 39°40′43″N 075°36′24″W / 39.67861°N 75.60667°W / 39.67861; -75.60667Coordinates: 39°40′43″N 075°36′24″W / 39.67861°N 75.60667°W / 39.67861; -75.60667
Website http://flywilmilg.com
ILG is located in Delaware
Location of airport in Delaware
Direction Length Surface
ft m
9/27 7,275 2,217 Asphalt
1/19 7,012 2,137 Asphalt
14/32 4,602 1,403 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Aircraft operations 67,328
Based aircraft 219
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[2]

Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport (IATA: ILG) (New Castle County Airport, Wilmington Airport) is in unincorporated New Castle County, Delaware.[2] Owned by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, it is five miles south of Wilmington and about 30 miles from Philadelphia.[2]

The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a general aviation reliever airport.[3] Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 642 passenger boardings (enplanements) in calendar year 2011 and 1,064 passenger boardings in 2012.[4] Thanks to the inauguration of service by Frontier Airlines, 2013 enplanements are expected to increase.[5]


The airport opened before World War II, named the Wilmington Airport and the Greater Wilmington Airport. The facility was taken over by the United States Army Air Forces during the war. Under USAAF control, the airport became New Castle Army Air Base. Its mission was to facilitate the movement of aircraft to the British and other Allies. Members of the historic Women Air Service Pilots (WASP) served as test and ferry pilots and towed targets for student gunners. There is a statue today at the airport that honors the women of the WASP that served their country in the time of need.[6]

After the war ended control of the airport was returned to civil authorities. A joint-use agreement was made between the United States Air Force and New Castle County authorities for a portion of the airport being retained for an Air National Guard Base. Trans World Airlines operated a large overhaul base for its overseas planes at the airport until 1957 when the airline moved it to the Kansas City Overhaul Base which became the basis for today's Kansas City International Airport.[7]

Delaware's first airline flights were TWA and American at Wilmington in late 1947.

1990s to present[edit]

In the late 1990s the county leased the debt-stricken airport to the bi-state Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), operators of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, on a thirty-year lease with the provision that the DRBA may seek up to two additional thirty-year leases. Since taking over operations, the DRBA made the airport profitable, upgraded many aging buildings, and built numerous new buildings and facilities on the property.

From 1991 through 1998, again from 2000 to 2006, and from April 2008 until July 1, 2013, Delaware was the only U.S. state without any scheduled airline flights.

United Airlines served Wilmington until 1991. USAir Express carrier Crown Airways provided scheduled service to Parkersburg, West Virginia from 1992 to 1993.[citation needed]

Shuttle America offered scheduled flights out of Wilmington from the airline's founding in November 1998 until February 2000. They flew to Hartford, Buffalo, and Norfolk on the 50-seat Dash 8-300. Shuttle America would eventually discontinue its independent operations and become a commuter affiliate of United Express and Delta Connection.

On June 29, 2006 a Delta Air Lines affiliate began flights from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport, the first airline service in six years. Delta Connection carrier Atlantic Southeast Airlines flew 50 seat CRJs on two daily roundtrip flights. Delta Air Lines ended the Wilmington flights on September 6, 2007, leaving Delaware without any airline service.

On March 8, 2008 Skybus Airlines began flights from Columbus, Ohio and Greensboro, North Carolina to Wilmington. Skybus ceased all operations effective April 4, 2008,[8] once again leaving Wilmington-Philadelphia Regional Airport without any airline service. As of August 4, 2010, Avis Rent a Car System, LLC, Budget Rent A Car System, Inc., and Cafe Bama were the only tenants in the Main Terminal.

On April 9, 2013 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Frontier Airlines would begin service July 1 from Wilmington to Chicago-Midway, Orlando, Tampa, Houston, and Denver.[citation needed] On June 26, 2013, Frontier announced that nonstop A320s to Fort Myers would begin November 16.[9]


The airport covers 1,250 acres (506 ha) at an elevation of 80 feet (24 m). It has three asphalt runways: 9/27 is 7,275 by 150 feet (2,217 x 46 m); 1/19 is 7,012 by 150 feet (2,137 x 46 m); 14/32 is 4,602 by 150 feet (1,403 x 46 m).[2]

In the year ending October 31, 2011 the airport had 67,328 aircraft operations, average 184 per day: 85% general aviation, 10% military, 5% air taxi, and <1% airline. 219 aircraft were then based at the airport: 48% single-engine, 30% jet, 11% multi-engine, 9% military, and 2% helicopter.[2]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Frontier Airlines, which calls the airport "Wilmington/Philadelphia", started service to the airport in July 2013. Frontier has seven nonstop routes on their 168-seat Airbus A320 aircraft. The service is thought to be part of Frontier's effort to remake itself as an "ultra-low cost carrier," after it eliminated domestic service to Philadelphia in 2012. Frontier also serves Trenton Mercer Airport north of Philadelphia.

Frontier flies three times a week to Atlanta, Chicago-Midway, Denver, Detroit, and Orlando, while flying once a week to Fort Myers and Tampa.

Airlines Destinations
Frontier Airlines Atlanta (begins April 29, 2014),[10] Chicago-Midway, Denver, Detroit (begins April 29, 2014), Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa


Top Six Busiest Domestic Routes Out of New Castle Airport
(Feb 2013-Jan 2014)[11]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Denver, CO: DEN 16,840 Frontier
2 Orlando, FL: MCO 12,630 Frontier
3 Chicago, IL: MDW 12,550 Frontier
4 Tampa, FL: TPA 8,940 Frontier
5 Houston, TX: IAH 5,590 Frontier (Discontinued)
6 Fort Myers, FL: RSW 3,100 Frontier

See also[edit]


External links[edit]