Passenger numbers down again at Myrtle Beach airport

dbryant@thesunnews.comDecember 12, 2012 

Another month, another decline in passenger numbers at Myrtle Beach International Airport.

About 45,648 passengers flew out of the airport in November, down about 11 percent from the same month last year and continuing the trend of double-digit declines this year.

Airport officials, who have blamed the monthly drops on carriers having fewer seats to fill, said this time that Hurricane Sandy, which hit the east coast Oct. 29, disrupted flights into early November, causing the drop. Overall, the airport had about the same number of seats to fill in November as November 2011, according to the airport.

US Airways, the second most popular carrier at the airport, and Porter Airlines carried more passengers out of Myrtle Beach in November than they did during the same month last year, according to airport statistics.

Through November this year, about 703,332 passengers have flown out of the airport, down 16 percent from the same 11-month period last year, according to airport statistics. Part of the decline comes from the loss of Myrtle Beach-based Direct Air, which abruptly stopped flying and filed for bankruptcy in March. Cuts by carriers such as Spirit Airlines also have contributed.

The airport is amid a $118 million expansion that includes a new terminal and rental car building, parking and restaurants. It is expected to be fully operational Feb. 19.

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at dbryant@thesunnews.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.

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