MYRTLE BEACH — Air travelers might want to arrive a bit early at Myrtle Beach International Airport this week.
The airport is expecting a busier than usual week because of the high-travel times of Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday and fall break for Coastal Carolina University on Friday. Airport officials urge passengers flying out of the airport to arrive two hours early.
“But it is important passengers check with their respective airline to ensure flights are on-time, etc., prior to heading out to the airport,” airport spokesman Kirk Lovell said in an email.
Speaking of the Canadian holiday, fall and winter air service to Toronto has kicked in on Porter Airlines, which returned to Myrtle Beach earlier this month.
“Holiday weekends are always popular, including Canadian Thanksgiving,” Porter spokesman Brad Cicero said, though he declined to give specific passenger numbers for the holiday.
Porter’s twice weekly service, on Thursdays and Sundays, to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport started Oct. 3 and runs through Nov. 24.
“Myrtle Beach has been a popular seasonal destination in the Porter network for four years,” Cicero said.
During its winter-spring flights from February through May, Porter brought 2,419 passengers into Myrtle Beach, according to statistics from Myrtle Beach International Airport. During its spring and fall stints to Myrtle Beach in 2012, Porter brought 3,173 passengers to the beach.
After a break following its fall flights, Porter will return to Myrtle Beach for winter/spring flights starting Feb. 13 with twice weekly service. The flights increase to five or six times a week in early March, and for the first time will have daily service over Canadian March break, Cicero said.
Porter will end its winter-spring service May 19.
Porter, which started flying to Myrtle Beach in 2010, added the fall flights a few years ago but doesn’t have plans to add summer routes, Cicero said, though not ruling out that possibility at some point.
“We do not have summer flights at this time, but are always open to considering new routes based on our resources and passenger demand,” he said.
Another Canadian carrier, WestJet, flew to Myrtle Beach for the first time this summer, but expectations fell short and Horry County could end up owing the carrier as much as $570,000 to make up for the shortfall, as negotiated in a revenue guarantee agreement entered into before the first flights.
Canada is the top international market for the Grand Strand, with a long history celebrated with the annual Canadian American Days every spring. In the coming weeks, snowbirds from Canada will start arriving to spend the winter here, escaping the harsh weather at home.
Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or at email@example.com or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_dawnbryant.