New legislation could draw $15M to Myrtle Beach International

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Chandi Lowry - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - If a bill moving through legislature becomes law, the Myrtle Beach International Airport could take advantage of $15 million in incentives to lure new carriers and flights to the Grand Strand.

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Dean said the airport was almost excluded because the original bill aimed to bring Southwest airlines to Greenville, Columbia or Charleston.

"It required daily service throughout the entire year," he said. "It also required new air service from a Top 25 market where other air service already existed. Those would not have been good provisions for the Grand Strand."

Myrtle Beach International offers many seasonal flights and targets smaller cities. A transportation committee has removed the requirements, and Dean said that has several carriers eyeing up the Grand Strand.

"It could allow us to bring a new airline and to provide daily service to the Grand Strand throughout our tourism season that doesn't currently exists, " Dean explained.

The proposed bill would also provide grants for airport projects, such as the Myrtle Beach International Airport expansion project.

"We think funding infrastructure for a project like the airport expansion could be a good thing because it will create jobs and help expand an airport that is going to grow in the future," he commented.

The plan is to borrow money from the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund, but the state Senate still needs to figure out how to return the money.

The amendments made to the bill would still have to get House approval before it becomes law.

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