Spirit Airlines has announced a new nonstop flight to and from Minneapolis-St. Paul and Myrtle Beach beginning in April 2018.
The flights, beginning April 12, will operate three times per week.
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Horry County council and the now-defunct Myrtle Beach Airport Advisory Committee have discussed getting a flight to the Minneapolis area for at least a decade now. Golf.com has reported that “more people play golf in Minnesota per capita than any other state in the union.”
Kirk Lovell, spokesman for the airport, said that Minneapolis-St. Paul was the airport’s largest market without nonstop air service.
“For several years we have been aggressively marketing to carriers the opportunity that exists between Minneapolis and the Grand Strand,” Lovell said. “Our indicators suggest demand is strong from spring through late fall.
“Demand for nonstop service from Minneapolis to the Grand Strand is robust. But what is interesting in this market pair, is that about 40 percent of all air travel originates from the Myrtle Beach area. This suggest demand for this new service is strong in both markets.”
Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said Minneapolis-St.Paul has been on the wish list for many years.
“Minnesota is home to many golfers and other travelers seeking a warm weather experience, but it’s too far to be a drive-to market for us,” Dean said. “Adding service to/from the Twin Cities will open us up to a new audience of travelers who would normally fly to competitor destinations but soon they can visit our community.”
Dean said this furthers Myrtle Beach’s push in the Midwest adding Minnesota to states like Illinois, Indiana and Missouri as stronger markets for the Grand Strand.
“As we grow air service into more Midwest markets, we are able to steadily build the brand of Myrtle Beach as more of a national destination and position our destination for expansion into other markets,” Dean said.
Lovell said the move helps Myrtle Beach, as well, considering the number of flights Spirit has out of Minneapolis.
“For Spirit to decide to place their assets in our market, speaks volumes to the strength of… Myrtle Beach,” Lovell said.
A round-trip flight that opening weekend, according to a sampling from spirit.com, showed the cost at slightly less than $200.