MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Thursday morning dozens of travelers arrived at Myrtle Beach International on the first WestJet plane to fly into MYR. And judging by day one of the new service, one hundred thirty two passengers were greeted with a very warm Grand Strand welcome.
"It's exciting to be part of the celebration, " said Mary Huurman. She's visiting with her husband.
"We're going to do a little bit of everything," added Huurman.
It's Canadian visitors like the Huurmans that have county and city leaders excited about the new direct service from Toronto.For years the Myrtle Beach area has been successful in drawing in visitors from Canada and many say West Jet could help expand on that.
"To have the opportunity to open the these gates even further is going to be fantastic," said City of Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes.
West Jet will offer connecting flights to 30 cities in Canada.
"It expands the Myrtle Beach brand to a part of the county and a part of the world that we've never been before,"added Horry County Airports Director Michael LaPier.
Airport officials say west jet has a reputable and successful history in the airline industry. Thursday politicians and hospitality leaders received the Canadian airline with open arms and it looks like travelers are, too.
"Bookings are going very strong.We've been very happy. As soon as we launched it, we've been getting a lot of interest,"said vice president and general manager for West Jet Vacations, Tim Croyle.
All eyes will be on sales over the next six months. If West Jet does well in Myrtle Beach, executives say the airline will extend its service beyond the initial season. West Jet will offer nonstop service every Thursday and Sunday through October.