MYR, MBACC, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday work to bring more direct - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

MYR, MBACC, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday work to bring more direct flights to area

Several groups are working to bring more arrivals and departures to Myrtle Beach International Airport. (Source: WMBF News) Several groups are working to bring more arrivals and departures to Myrtle Beach International Airport. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach International Airport is working to bring more options to passengers by bringing more direct flights to our area.

Airport officials have made enhancements to an initiative that was proposed back in 2014. The efforts are being made by the airport along with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday.

“If there’s an easy way to get to the destination, the more likely that someone will fly here,” said Kirk Lovell, Director of Air Service and Business Development.

Brad Dean, the CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, said there is an extensive amount of research being done to determine where people are flying in from. This is giving the chamber a better idea of which markets Myrtle Beach is effectively serving.

The Chamber of Commerce has also started doing research on the geographic origin of passengers who arrive at the airport – not just where their connecting flight is.

In a statement to WMBF News, Dean described the collaboration between the three groups as “very much a ‘team sport’,” that, “proves to be very successful.”

Dean also added, “We execute ongoing targeted advertising campaigns in key markets – not just where we have air service but where we want to have air service – to build brand awareness and develop more brand identity.”

The airport has also been conducting research itself. The airport is offering incentives to airlines if they start direct service with MYR. For an airline that signs onto this initiative, the airport plans to offer 100 percent off the landing fee, property fee and apron fee for the first year. During the second year, it would be 75 percent. An airport's "apron" is where planes are parked, loaded, unloaded and refueled.

“The list of markets consists of markets that would work short-term and long-term,” Lovell said. “We don’t want markets to come in and fail. We want long-term success.”

The airport doesn’t have any definitive destinations just yet, but Lovell gave some examples of places they have been looking at: “Markets such as Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, South Bend, Ind.,” Lovell said.

These incentives will not cost passengers or tax payers any more money. These incentives will be funded completely by the airport. Lovell said the airport wants both to provide more service for the visitors of Myrtle Beach as well as the people who already live here.

“What changes is the frequency of flights during the shoulders," Lovell said, referring to the time of the year between tourist seasons. "So, we’re focusing on the airlines with making that possible and that’s where we’re waiting to see the success."

This initiative will have to pass three readings before Horry County Council. The first reading will be at the meeting on Oct. 17.

During September 2017, the airport saw a 4.6 percent increase from September 2016, with 204,520 passengers passing through during that month this year.

"September 2017 was the busiest September on record, despite the fact passengers' travel being impacted by Hurricane Irma," said Scott Van Moppes, director of airports, in a press release.

"Year-to-date, MYR has welcomed a record-breaking 912,182 passengers to the Grand Strand. The continued growth by our airline partners in the market is a testament to the strength and demand of our destination - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina," Van Moppes said.

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