Passenger arrivals at Myrtle Beach International Airport reached more than 318,000 by the end of May, and new arrivals show signs of topping the 2011 record-arrivals figure.
The airport issued its May figures Tuesday, which showed 100,448 passengers arrived at MYR, an increase of 3.5 percent from last May.
Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said he foresees growth in arrivals continuing.
“With the additional capacity and new markets, we anticipate 2015 will set an all-time record for airport deplanements,” Dean said. “And, while it’s too early to forecast 2016, we are encouraged that much of our growth is coming from two high-growth airlines, Spirit and Allegiant, both of whom could add even more capacity in 2016.”
Increasing the number of travelers who arrive by air has long been an area tourism goal. The county, which owns the airport, spent $118 million to build a new terminal, which opened in 2013.
Airport visitors tend to stay for fewer days than a drive-in visitor, Dean said. but they also spend more dollars when they come to the Grand Strand.
Arrivals during the first five months of 2015 beat 2014 by 1.5 percent, and have crept above 2011 arrival numbers by about 10,000 passengers. Arrivals in recent years have traditionally been compared to 2011 because that’s when MYR set all-time arrival records.
Dean credited the collaboration between the county, the chamber, Golf Holiday and private business owners for the growth.
“Our success is a direct indicator of the economic potential of the Grand Strand and the power of cooperation between the public and private sector,” he said.
“As the number of passengers using the airport increases, the Horry County Department of Airports and its partners continue to work hard in an effort to maximize the customer experience for each and every guest,” said Pat Apone, director of airports for Horry County.
The figures released Tuesday don’t include numbers of visitors arriving via the first-year flights Allegiant Airlines started at the beginning of May from Akron-Canton, Ohio, Indianapolis, Ind., Orlando, Fla., Clarksburg, W. Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa.
Contact JASON M. RODRIGUEZ at 626-0301 or on Twitter @TSN_JRodriguez.
By the Numbers
January through May arrivals at MYR
Spirit Airlines |179,323
US Airways/American Airlines | 65,499
Delta Air Lines | 52,916
Allegiant | 8,007
United | 6,721,
Porter | 2,650
WestJet | 2,425
Charters operations | 524