First Southwest flight touches down at Myrtle Beach International Airport

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 5:48 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Travelers in and out of the Myrtle Beach International Airport officially have another option when it comes to flying.

The first Southwest Airlines flight into Myrtle Beach touched down Sunday morning, making the company the ninth airline to have service at MYR.

Adam Decaire, Vice President of Networking Planning for Southwest Airlines, said Myrtle Beach was at the top of their list of new locations as Americans rush to make travel plans for the summer.

“The number one focus was to get them flying to places that we haven’t served,” he said.

Right now, the airline is only flying to and from Baltimore, Nashville, and Chicago.

Later this month the airline will add flights to and from Dallas and Pittsburgh and then five more cities in June.

“We expect a lot of growth here as more airplanes are coming we’ll just have to keep going. If customers chose to fly us then we’ll just continue to add service,” Decaire said.

As the Grand Strand prepares for an influx of summer travelers, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce said the timing couldn’t be better.

“Today marks a pivotal point in the Myrtle Beach area’s evolution in becoming a more nationally recognized, year-long leisure and group-travel destination,” MBACC CEO Karen Riordan said in a press release. “The Southwest brand brings with it a loyal customer base and we are eager to welcome them to The Beach and our 60 miles of coastal fun and sun. Moreover, Southwest’s entry into the Grand Strand also provides our growing community with increased affordable travel options to key markets across the country.”

Data from the TSA shows over 1 million more people have gone through checkpoints nationwide so far this month than they did on the same day last year.

”We visited for the first time months ago and the area showed us everything that we wanted to see back then, and we knew that this place was going to be booming come summer, and we wanted to get here as soon as we could,” Decaire said.

While summer hasn’t officially started just yet, the chamber officials are already reporting high numbers of hotel occupancy.

According to data from the MBACC, there was a 62% increase in hotel occupancy from the week of May 9-15 compared to the same week in 2020.

Riordan also said the chamber hopes Southwest introduces visitors out of driving range to Myrtle Beach.

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