MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Come October, passengers of WestJet Airlines that fly to and from Myrtle Beach International Airport will have to find a new airline to Canada.
WestJet notified MYR on Friday that they will terminate service at the end of the season, but this does not mean you need to make connections at larger airports.
Airport officials say the airport still has nonstop service to Canada through Porter Airlines, which flies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
However, this will not have a huge impact on the number of visitors that come to Myrtle Beach each year, according to airport officials.
Kirk Lovell, Director of Air Service and Business Development at Myrtle Beach International Airport, said the passengers that fly WestJet airlines account for one percent of the airport's passengers. This change won't impact the overall performance and success of the Myrtle Beach area.
"Sometimes they move planes to other markets where they see a better opportunity. So, WestJet is making those decisions internally and it will impact the airport in terms of one less carrier flying to Canada," said Lovell.
Brad Dean, President of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, said WestJet has been a great partner for the airport, but because the Canadian currency exchange rate has been declining against the United States dollar, Myrtle Beach noticed a declining economic impact of Canadian visitors. However, the Chamber agrees that this will not cause a major decline in overall visitors to the area.
"While they bring in quite a few people, since they've started service until now about 60,000 people have flown on the airline, with about half of those arriving into our market," said Lovell.
Dean said the Chamber will continue to grow the relationship with Canada to continue to make Myrtle Beach area accessible to Canadians.