If you’re planning to travel through Myrtle Beach International Airport for the Thanksgiving holiday next week, be prepared to search for a parking space.
Growth from the 18-month-old terminal and additional flights has created a parking crunch, but airport officials have added more spaces and have contingency plans to make this busy Thanksgiving travel period smoother than last year, when the cars outnumbered the parking spaces at MYR.
“We do know [parking] is a major issue,” Kirk Lovell, assistant director of Horry County airports, said during a recent Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce marketing meeting. “We apologize for that. That is obviously one of the issues with growing … We will see this Thanksgiving whether we can accommodate the demand.”
From January through September, parking lot occupancy was up 9 percent compared to the same nine months last year.
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The airport has 1,787 parking spaces, which includes 649 were added at the end of summer when the credit card lot opened. After crunching the numbers, Lovell said that if the vehicle numbers are the same as last year, “there should be enough parking spaces at Myrtle Beach International Airport to fulfill demand” during the busy Thanksgiving travel period.
Last year, the parking lots were over capacity on Thanksgiving, as well as the day before and day after the holiday, Lovell said. The airport had 1,138 spaces a year ago, but had 1,327 cars parked there on Thanksgiving, 1,211 cars the day before the holiday and 1,206 cars the day after the holiday, he said.
If there’s overflow again next week, cars will park in part of the Rental Car lot and on the roadways in the wooded area near the terminal, Lovell said, adding that those are contingencies the airport has been using to handle the parking demand.