MYR sees lower number of travelers in 2012 compared to 2011

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF)- The Myrtle Beach International Airport released its passenger data for 2012 Tuesday. According to the report, the airport saw a significant decrease in passengers flying in and out of Myrtle Beach in 2012 compared to 2011.

Overall, there was roughly a 15 percent decrease both in enplanement and deplanement numbers last year compared to 2011. Several airlines at MYR are making changes to their scheduling and availability this year. MYR Marketing Director Kirk Lovell said those changes are likely being made because the carriers see a demand in the Grand Strand.

"Carriers would not be adding capacity if they did not see an opportunity," Lovell said.

Beginning in February, several carriers are making changes to their scheduling. Delta Airlines is adding new seasonal flights to Boston, Massachusetts once per week during the peak season. US Airways will offer daily non-stop service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Spirit Airlines, MYR's largest carrier, recently introduced more capacity and it is starting up service several months earlier this year than in the past. Spirit also added new destinations for 2013 that will start running in April.

Lovell said along with the new additions to MYR this year, aggressive marketing will still be key to bringing in the people.

"It's a challenge because actually every airport in the United States is aggressively trying to get new air service. And, there's limited aircraft available. So they go after what they feel is the best market for their business strategy," Lovell said.

Lovell said it wasn't only MYR who saw a decrease in numbers in 2012.

"Numbers were actually down because lack of available seat capacity- the number of seats being flown in and it wasn't just Myrtle Beach, it was airports across the United States," Lovell said.

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