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Four reasons why more tourists are flying to Myrtle Beach and the facts to prove it

The key message officials at the Myrtle Beach International Airport want to convey this tourism season is arrive two hours ahead of your flight.

The reason? Well, we’re sure there are plenty like the restaurants they have there. But mostly because the volume of people coming in and out of there.

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Kirk Lovell, director of air service and business development at Myrtle Beach International Airport, said the number of passenger arriving into the airport for the first three months of 2017 is up 10 percent over last year, while seat capacity is up only 5 percent. Lovell said that indicates that the traveling public is responding well to the new capacity, and the demand for Myrtle Beach is strong.

Are there too many restaurants in the Myrtle Beach area and the Grand Strand per capita?

“The continued addition of capacity and introduction of new service by our partner airlines at MYR is the result of having a fantastic destination to market – Myrtle Beach,” said Lovell. “Several years ago the team implemented an air service development strategy with specific short- and long-term objectives. The strategy is working, and shoulder seasons capacity is increasing while we are maximizing choice and selection for the traveling public.”

The following is based on scheduled directional seat capacity, per posted airline schedules as of April 19, 2017.

The data compares January – September 2017 to same period 2016.

  • Spirit Airlines (24.1 percent), Allegiant Air (15.4 percent) and American Airlines (6 percent) are the top three carriers with largest year-over-year percentage increase over last year.
  • Allegiant Airlines has committed to retaining service at Myrtle Beach International Airport for many of its markets through Nov. 14, 2017, which is later in the season than ever before.
  • In spring 2017, from March to May, seat capacity is up 12 percent over 2016, which is a whopping 41 percent more than 2012.
  • For the first nine months of 2017, seat capacity is up 14.9 percent over same period last year or nearly 146,000 directional seats. There are 292,000 more seats flying in and out of Myrtle Beach International Airport than last year

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Here are the Top 5 markets with largest increase over last year.

  • Akron/Canton, +242.9%;
  • Newark, +211.5%
  • Stewart-SWF +146.7
  • Pittsburgh-PIT, +124.4%
  • Washington-DCA, +45.5%

If the airlines fill the seats to Myrtle Beach, here are the top five months of seat capacity growth over 2016.

o   June +21.0%

o   August +19.7%

o   July +19.5%

o   May 17.9%

o   September +17.2%

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There are eight new destinations for 2017 compared to 2016:

  •  Spirit – Hartford-BDL (starts April)
  •  Allegiant – St. Louis/Belleville-BLV (starts May); Dayton-DAY (starts May); Portsmouth-PSM (starts June)

There are four new markets, also served by another carrier:

  •  Spirit – Newark-EWR (starts March, and continues year round); Pittsburgh-PIT (starts May); Akron Canton-CAK (starts April)
  •  Allegiant – Cleveland-CLE (starts April)

There are seven existing markets start earlier than last year (airline, market and month start in 2017 versus 2016)

o One market starts early: American starts Washington-DCA in March versus April

o Four markets start early: Allegiant starts Cincinnati-CVG, Feb versus April; Indianapolis-IND, April versus May; Harrisburg-MDT, April versus May; Stewart-SWF, May versus June;

o One market starts early: Spirit starts Cleveland-CLE, March versus April;

o One market United starts Chicago-ORD, March versus April