The Horry County Council made a major change this week in the fee structure charged to the airlines using the Myrtle Beach International Airport. Although the change may not result in an immediate onslaught of new carriers signing up to offer service to the area, or even existing carriers adding additional flights, the change is very important for future growth at the facility.
The previous fees were some of the highest in the region and were consistently mentioned by airlines as reason for cancelling service or not adding additional flights. As we've reported, the airlines are struggling to survive and have been cutting back on services, not adding. It will be interesting to see if the airlines now step up and take advantage of the more favorable pricing by increasing service in and out of Myrtle Beach.
If you have flown out of the Myrtle Beach facility and checked comparable flights from Wilmington or Charleston you have most likely found that those cities often have much lower fares for the same destinations. Air travel experts credit lower-priced airfares to competitive service from low-fare carriers. Even though we do not have any of the big name low-fare providers providing service in Myrtle Beach, hopefully the lower fees will filter down creating lower fares.
It's nice to see the Horry County Council helping to put the local airport in a more competitive position. If nothing else, the gesture sends the right message to the airlines that we want their service and are willing to make the necessary adjustments to prove it.