Changes to some off-season flights on US Airways contributed to an overall decline in passenger numbers in February at Myrtle Beach International Airport, the second consecutive month the numbers have dipped.
The loss of winter flights to Newark, N.J., on United also contributed, as well as bad winter weather that caused some flight cancellations, according to airport statistics and officials.
About 37,167 passengers flew into Myrtle Beach in February, down from the 38,599 who arrived at MYR in February 2013, according to airport statistics. All the carriers, except United which didn’t fly here in February, and US Airways, brought in more passengers last month than the same month a year ago. In February 2013, United brought 1,116 passengers into Myrtle Beach, according to airport statistics.
US Airways brought 10,674 passengers into Myrtle Beach in February, about 1,548 fewer than in February 2013, according to airport statistics. US Airways cut back on seat capacity to Charlotte and Reagan Washington National Airport, but increased service to Philadelphia.
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“However, US [Airways] did add capacity from Philadelphia to MYR but not enough to offset the decreases from CLT and DCA,” MYR spokesman Kirk Lovell said. “It appears this thinning was seasonal, as the capacity begins to build back up in March.”
US Airways, which has merged with American and is integrating the two systems, is the second most popular carrier at MYR behind Spirit Airlines, which brought 20,461 passengers into Myrtle Beach in February, about 5 percent more than a year ago.
“The change in frequencies is due to US Airways’ efforts to better match capacity with demand for the region,” said Davien Anderson, spokesman for US Airways-American Airlines. “While there were a few reductions in frequencies between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach, we did increase frequencies between Myrtle Beach and Philadelphia.”
Lovell said March is on track to produce the first increase in passenger numbers in 2014 compared to the previous year. Several airlines started seasonal service earlier than usual this year, including WestJet to Toronto, Canada, in early March.
“Driving March passenger levels – March 2014 seat capacity is up 3 percent over last year, US Airways returns with its seasonal service, WestJet [started] March 6 and Spirit continues to ramp up service as the weather in the Grand Strand starts to warm up,” he said.