MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach International Airport is working to add several non-stop flights to major cities, in the U.S. and abroad.
Airport spokesperson Kirk Lovell explained the financial incentives the airport will offer to airlines at the Horry County Transportation Committee meeting on Monday. “It’s to get more people here, but it has a direct benefit on the people who live in this community, who need to travel to other places,” said Lovell.
Myrtle Beach International Airport plans to create non-stop flights to almost 20 U.S. cities, including D.C., Houston, Denver, and Minneapolis. It it also targeting international destinations, including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The airport plans to increase the number of available flights to major cities like Boston, Atlanta, and Chicago. “We’re looking at markets that make sense in the long term and short term, based on the demand for Myrtle Beach,” said Lovell.
According to Lovell, MYR hopes to attract airlines by waiving landing and other fees for one year and waive 75% of those fees in the second year. The airport will also offer airlines funding for marketing. “Most airports around the U.S. offer incentives. It’s to make us attractive and at a level-playing field with other airports.” adds Horry County Councilman Johnny Vaught, “Our tourism will increase hopefully, and hopefully that will stir some economic development as well as our tourist traffic.”
The airport is building a new parking lot with 300 spots to accommodate the growth and may add a parking garage in the next 3 to 5 years. “Right now we’re running 90-95% capacity every day, and that’s crazy. There are people that sometimes can’t find parking spaces.” said Vaught.
Lovell assures travelers that once the airport adds a non-stop flight it’s here to stay. “If a market isn’t going to be successful in a year or two, it’s not in the incentive plan listed as a target market. [Airlines] don’t want to come in and start a service and be here for a year and pull the service. They’re looking for long-term growth.” said Lovell.
Next, the airport’s financial incentives plan will go before Horry County Council at it’s next meeting for approval.