‘Roll out the landing gear’: MYR expansion underway

Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach International is “Now Boarding” the future.

The Horry County Department of Airports announced a slew of new improvements “coming down the runway.”

Canopies are being installed at the rental car lot, and they are right in the thick of things setting them up. It should mean more shade and light so vehicles won’t be as scorching hot in the summer.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg because MYR has a bunch of projects that are about ready to “roll out their landing gear.”

“Smooth sailing all the way,” said Joanne Derwin, who is visiting from Pennsylvania. “Beautiful day to fly. Cold in Pennsylvania. Beautiful here.”

The alluring weather that brought Erwin to Myrtle Beach for an Easter vacation is the same thing that brought more than 3 million people to the beach last year.

With that kind of traffic, MYR feels ready to add on.

“That will allow us to accommodate this new traffic post-pandemic. This was something the airport was looking at in 2019 prior to the pandemic, but it was put on hold just because of the uncertainty of the industry as a whole.”

That uncertainty is gone after the airport smashed through its passenger record last year, including a July that set a state record for passengers in one month.

The expansion will include 5-6 new gates, new restrooms and restaurants and a new TSA screening area.

Derwin is hoping some of those new restaurants open up before her next visit.

“A nice sit-down place because they don’t serve food on the plane much anymore,” Derwin said. “We’ll be spending a long ride home on Sunday, so somewhere you could sit down for not just fast food.”

Another passenger hopes more gates means more direct flights.

“I think I’ve flown out of here one other time directly to New York probably seven years ago,” said Julian Young, who flew in from NY. “I would like that experience again if I could.”

TSA lines were out the door during the busiest point of the summer last year, so adding another check-in area will hopefully get people on their planes quicker so they won’t have to arrive quite as early.

Of course, none of this will happen overnight, so the airport staff is working to make sure things go smoothly while the improvements are underway.

“Working with the TSA closely to expedite screenings and working with our carriers to try to spread it out as much as possible.”

Perhaps by Derwin’s next visit, the make-over will be complete so she’ll be able to spend less time in line and more time with her family in the Grand Strand.

“She’s five minutes from the beach and I need a little bit of beach time after a long winter in PA,” said Derwin.

These changes are all around the airport, so they’re going to all be on different schedules; however, a MYR spokesperson says they’re wrapping up design over the next few months, and some portions will likely be under construction at some point this year.

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