Myrtle Beach International Airport continues growth, flight options for the Hammock Coast
Just in time to plan your vacation to South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) has added another airline to the growing list already serving the region.
Southwest Airlines will begin serving the Myrtle Beach airport this year. Beginning May 23, 2021, passengers will be able to travel from and to Baltimore, Maryland (BWI), Chicago, Illinois (MDW), and Nashville, Tennessee (BNA); and additional nonstop service from and to Dallas, Texas (DAL) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (PIT) will begin May 29. Service from and to five additional cities will launch on June 6, 2021, which include Atlanta, Georgia (ATL), Columbus, Ohio (CMH), Indianapolis, Indian (IND), Kansas City, Missouri (MCI) and St. Louis, Missouri (STL). In addition to their nonstop offerings, Myrtle Beach is accessible on Southwest Airlines this summer from 50-plus cities through same-plane and connecting itineraries.
“We are so excited to welcome Southwest Airlines…,” said Scott Van Moppes, director of airports at MYR. “Demand for travel to/from the Grand Strand is growing at a rapid pace and we look forward to the opportunity to serve even more customers, thanks to the ample air service opportunities provided through the expansive Southwest network.”
He added, “We know the past year has been very challenging for the aviation industry, and we appreciate the confidence Southwest has shown in the strength of our destination.”
The South Carolina’s Hammock Coast communities served by MYR include the beach communities of DeBordieu, Pawleys Island, Litchfield Beach, Murrells Inlet, and southern Garden City, as well as the historic areas of Georgetown and Andrews.
In 2019, MYR served 2.6 million passengers. During 2020 and the COVID crisis, passenger activity declined at MYR and throughout the United States. However, as a top leisure destination, MYR passenger activity has recovered at a faster rate than the national average.
“MYR is well-positioned for a quick recovery as a predominantly leisure destination,” said Lauren Wehrung, air service and business analyst at MYR. “This is a true win/win for our area as we all work to recover this year and grow in years to come.”
Wehrung noted that airlines have responded to the impressive demand for travel to the Hammock Coast and Grand Strand regions by adding new markets, increasing existing capacity or entering the market as a new carrier, just as Southwest has now done.
She added, “Scheduled seat capacity for summer 2021 has already exceeded that which was scheduled during the same period in 2019, and airport leaders are confident the airport will continue its fast-paced recovery throughout 2021.”
The addition of Southwest Airlines means that MYR will now have nine airlines servicing the Hammock Coast. MYR is currently served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Porter, Sun Country, Spirit and United.
The airport already offers direct or nonstop flights from 50 locations: Akron-Canton, Ohio; Albany, New York; Allentown, Pennsylvania; Atlanta, Georgia; Atlantic City, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Charleston, West Virginia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Clarksburg, West Virginia; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Elmira, New York; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Hagerstown, Maryland; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; Huntington, West Virginia; Indianapolis, Indiana; Long Island, New York; Kansas City, Missouri; Knoxville, Tennessee; Latrobe, Pennsylvania; Lexington, Kentucky; Louisville, Kentucky; Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee; New York, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Newburg/Stewart, New York; Niagra Falls, New York; Orlando, Florida; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; Providence, Rhode Island; Saint Louis/Belleville, Illinois; Syracuse, New York; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Trenton, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C.
Of course, many connecting flights also help visitors and residents in their travel plans.
Southwest Airlines is one of the major airlines of the United States and the world’s largest low-cost carrier airline. It is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has scheduled service to 111 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries.
Myrtle Beach International Airport recently earned the title of “Best Small Airport” in the 2021 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. The annual awards highlight the best of the best in the travel industry and nominees in all categories were chosen editorially by a panel of experts in partnership with 10Best editors, while the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.
“The airport team is incredibly proud of this win,” Van Moppes said. “This title places MYR in the national spotlight, allowing the rest of the country to see why our airport is a favorite among travelers and continually growing in popularity. Our team works diligently to provide the best possible customer experience and being named ‘Best Small Airport’ is proof of that hard work. We are grateful to everyone who took time to vote and we would like to thank our loyal following for its continued patronage and support in this contest.”
Two other airports serve South Carolina’s Hammock Coast: Charleston International Airport, located in North Charleston about 19 miles from the City of Charleston and about 75 miles from South Carolina’s Hammock Coast; and the Georgetown County Airport, located south of Georgetown, on the Hammock Coast, just outside the city limits on U.S. Highway 17, which accommodates small planes and jets.
For more information about Southwest Airlines, visit: https://www.southwest.com/. The Myrtle Beach International Airport is owned by Horry County and operated by the Department of Airports. Learn more at: www.flymyrtlebeach.com.
By Clayton Stairs/tourism manager for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce