MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A new report shows fewer people are using Myrtle Beach International airport to visit the Grand Strand.
The latest enplanement report shows the number of passengers flying in and out of Myrtle Beach International is down more than 16.5 percent from this time last year.
The drop off is nothing new for the airport, which has seen a drop in passengers every month except February in 2012. Airport Spokesman Kirk Lovell says the drop has a big financial impact.
"[The drop] means less passengers, less spending, [and] less people using some of the amenities," Lovell stressed. "It does hurt."
Lovell says one of the biggest contributing factors is airlines simply pulling seats and planes out of Myrtle Beach.
Spirit Airlines makes up about half of the flight traffic out of Myrtle Beach International, and Lovell says the company has recently taken many planes and resources to make money in other areas.
"What they've done in about 26 markets out of their 60 is they've pulled capacity to be able to grow into other markets," Lovell explained.
Earlier in the summer, Lovell says airport officials hoped to convince airlines already at the airport to increase the number of seats and flights to and from MYR. But, with numbers continuing to slide, now they're working with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday to bring in new carriers to get the numbers back up.
Lovell says they hope to make some headway when Porter Airlines begins operating to and from Canada again this week, but says the gains still won't compare with the losses from spirit airlines.