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It’s been a busy year at Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). So busy, MYR was the busiest airport in the state this June and July. This is the first time MYR has surpassed Charleston’s airport’s deplanement and enplanement rates.
Detailed passenger statistics are located at on the airport’s website under “Facts & Figures.”
“This is an incredible win for the Myrtle Beach International Airport,” said Scott Van Moppes, director of airports. “Not only was MYR the busiest airport in the state for two consecutive months, MYR saw the highest passenger counts ever recorded in an airport in South Carolina. These new records are a testament to how truly great our destination is and how high demand for travel to and from Myrtle Beach has become.”
The announcement comes after the airport saw a tough week or so in early August when several airlines, mainly Spirit, were facing a series of daily flight cancellations. However, these issues were happening on a national scale and not as a result of growth at MYR.
MYR consistently works to help accommodate travelers while at the airport and earlier this spring, instituted a number of strategic plans in order to prepare for the heavy volume of visitors. Among them, the airport advised anyone traveling Friday, Saturday or Sunday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to consider arriving two to three hours prior to departure. In addition, they encouraged arriving passengers to make arrangements for ground transportation prior to arriving at MYR.
MYR is able to handle the volume as well as any interruptions to flights due to its strong team, Van Moppes said. “The entire airport team, including airline staff and TSA have been doing an incredible job of working hard to keep the huge volumes of passengers flowing. We couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s hard work along with this accomplishment and we look forward to continuing to lead the charge in post-pandemic recovery in the Palmetto State.”
Southwest Airlines joined the airlines servicing MYR in May, adding 10 destinations to the airport's roster. Around the same time, other airlines also added flights bringing MYR’s total destinations served with direct flights to more than 50.
MBACC and CVB President and CEO Karen Riordan said these additional flights are just part of the reason why the airport saw substantial volume this summer. “It’s no surprise to us that MYR became the busiest airport in the state this summer as families were eager to enjoy a long-awaited beach experience,” she said.
According to Riordan, the Grand Strand’s 60 miles of beaches and near countless options for shopping, dining, entertainment and recreation are a natural draw for families, sports teams and groups. “We welcomed these visitors and encouraged them to travel responsibly and patiently as our businesses strived to increase staffing to meet the demand,” she added.
The MBACC team that runs the Airport Visitors Center has been working especially hard this year to accommodate the record volume of passengers. As a result, the center’s Manager Kasey Harkins was bestowed with the chamber’s Employee of the Month award for July.
Harkins says sharing her knowledge of the area is the most rewarding part of the job, and while she hasn’t experienced all that The Beach has to offer, she makes an effort to have firsthand knowledge of all the things to do here. Sharing those personal experiences and insider knowledge to our visitors sets her apart. She’ll also take the time to write down information and directions for visitors who may need it.
While Harkins has been with the chamber for the past 15 years, she says this year has been the busiest. As a result, Harkins, and her team of four, have been working hard welcoming visitors and providing them with information and resources.
This includes providing hand fans – or church fans as Harkins calls them – to arriving visitors in order to keep cool while waiting outside for transportation. They also have masks available for departing passengers who do not have one. And, they’ve been encouraging visitors to have patience as the area is experiencing a high volume of visitors who are all eager to enjoy the beach.
The Airport Visitors Center is open from 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. throughout the year.
MYR continues to build upon its first-class offerings and in August, the facility’s first Starbucks location opened post-security on Level 2.
“As the only Starbucks airport location in the State of South Carolina, the airport team couldn’t be prouder to offer customers another premium food and beverage option,” Van Moppes said.
Starbucks will be operated by Paradies Lagardère, a leading airport travel retailer and restaurateur, operating more than 950 stores and restaurants in 100 airports.
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