5 Companies Request Information to Potentially Operate New Castle Airport | The latest news from WDEL
New Castle County has received notice from five companies wanting to resume operations at Wilmington Airport (ILG) if the county fails to reach a deal with its current operator.
The Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) has operated the airport since 1995, but received a non-renewal notice prior to what would have been a 30-year agreement on June 30, 2020.
Currently, the county and DRBA are in a 5-year transition period, where DRBA continues to operate ILG, while the next long-term operator is determined.
New Castle County issued a Request for Information (RFI) for companies interested in resuming operations, including DRBA, and they received responses from five groups, but not from DRBA.
- AVPorts, operator of mixed commercial and private airports in Albany and Westchester counties, New York, New Haven, Connecticut, Gary, Indiana and Teterboro, New Jersey.
- TBI AM, operator of Orlando / Sanford Airport in Florida, Ontario International Airport in California, Atlantic City International Airport and both Hartsfield-Jackson Lobby in Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham.
- daa Group, operator of Dublin and Cork airports in Ireland, and two in Saudi Arabia
- F | 3, operator of a general aviation airport in Waukegan, Illinois and a county-owned public-use airport in Muskegon County, Michigan.
- flyADVANCED, service center for Honda, Cirrus and Diamond Aircraft, they already operate from ILG.
ILG has had a history of some commercial flights, but currently only Frontier Airlines operates from the terminal.
Frontier has been operating flights three times a week between ILG and Orlando since February 11, although it is planned to switch only to Monday and Friday flights from Monday, November 8 through Sunday, January 9, 2022, when the service Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday will resume.
The next step for New Castle County is to issue a formal request for proposal (RFP), in which the companies would show the county how they would intend to operate the airport if they won the bid.
New Castle County Executive Director of Development Charuni Patibanda told county council no decision was even close to imminent.
“The RFI was intended to test the market to see the level of interest of the private or public sector, and their interest in other companies that potentially run the airport. We are still in this initial phase.”
Some council members, including Jea Street and John Cartier, have expressed concerns if the airport is taken over by a private for-profit company.
“(Some people believe) Privatization is like that panacea, and it isn’t,” Cartier said. “We see the hardships playing out at the (Wilmington) port, and I hope this situation does not develop with the private operation of New Castle Airport.”
There is no specific timeline for when an RFI is slated to be released, although the current deal with DRBA means it could not be done until the last 12 months of the five-year deal. .