By WECT Staff | April 22, 2021 at 10:21 AM EDT – Updated April 22 at 3:52 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Wilmington International Airport (ILM) officials say their hands are tied as the public continues to voice concerns about the continued increase in military air traffic at the airport.
“We understand there have been some recent concerns from the surrounding community regarding the level of military activity at ILM and the subsequent noise levels,” according to a Thursday morning statement from airport officials who previously addressed the issue back in March.
ILM officials say they’re obligated to the federal government to let military aircraft use the airport, free of charge.
This is mainly due to ILM accepting federal funds and the Surplus Property Act of 1944. After World War II, the federal government gifted the airport, previously known as Bluethenthal Field, to New Hanover County, with the stipulation that all government aircraft would be allowed to use the airport.
“Today, military jets use the approach to ILM as training for approaching civilian fields as they would in forward deployed areas,” according to the statement from ILM. “The military may also choose to refuel on airport grounds.”
One of ILM’s tenants, Modern Aviation, is a “fixed-base operator” and has a contract with the government to refuel military aircraft.
As for the increase in noise, ILM officials say the military is exempt from Federal Aviation Administration noise and 1000-foot height regulations.
“As they train for the defense of our country, they do their best to minimize disruptions,” the statement read.
“ILM will continue to act in compliance with our grants, contracts, leases, and agreements. Further, we will communicate with our partners and stakeholders to support economic opportunities as well as foster positive community relations.”
ILM recommends the public reach out to them at 910-341-4336 to confirm which military base is using the airport on any given day. Airport officials also provided the following contact information for the noise abetment offices at those bases:
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