The major renovation and expansion of Charleston International will mean additional gates to accommodate more flights into the Lowcountry.
Airport officials are hoping to fill that added capacity with new direct flights to the South and West Coast, Airports Director Paul Campbell said Thursday.
"We are looking at where we can bring additional service into the airport and we would love to have a destination toward the West," Campbell said. "We now go to Dallas and we now go to Houston and Chicago. I'd certainly like to add something more west than that."
He said the goal would be to add direct service into places like Denver and Salt Lake City, in addition to more flights into Florida and even Canada.
The airport is undergoing a $200 million construction project that will include five additional gates.
"We are looking at markets all the time to where it would best serve the citizens of the Lowcountry and bring in the tourists," Campbell said after a special meeting of the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
The panel's agenda included a presentation about JetBlue and how the discount carrier is bringing additional direct flights to the Washington, D.C., and New York City regions.
Board member and Charleston tourism chief Helen Hill said the new JetBlue direct route to Reagan National Airport outside Washington is being promoted with a $200,000 advertising campaign that was coordinated by her group, the Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Hill said the campaign of mobile and newspaper advertisements, in addition to billboards in the Washington area was largely targeting frequent fliers of other airline services to try the new JetBlue direct flights.
"This is focused on the awareness of the destination and people to consider jumping on JetBlue," Hill said.
Campbell said he sees no slowdown in demand for air service, noting that readers of Travel + Leisure ranked Charleston as the No. 1 city to visit in the U.S. and Canada in a survey released this week.
"They're coming here anyway, so let's have the best service," he said.
Friday's special meeting also included a closed session that lasted roughly two hours.
Board members did not give a presentation following the session, but counsel Arnold Goodstein said members "discussed legal and personnel matters and no action was taken."
The board's closed session comes as the agency is looking into mediation that's been proposed in the gender discrimination complaint filed by the authority's former director Sue Stevens, who resigned last July.
Stevens has filed a complaint with the S.C. Human Affairs Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Stevens alleges that because she's a woman, she was belittled and talked down to by some authority members of what was at the time an all-male board.
The Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is coordinating a $200,000 marketing campaign to promote JetBlue’s new service between Charleston and Reagan National Airport outside Washington, D.C.×
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