Airport surpasses 3 million passengers for first time

Charleston International Airport surpassed 3 million passengers for the first time ever in 2014.

The number of passengers at Charleston International Airport continues to soar, surpassing 3 million fliers for the first time ever in 2014.

The airport set an all-time record of 3.13 million passengers arriving and departing last year, officials said Monday. That’s 7 percent more than in 2013 and 55 percent higher than in 2010. Put another way, more than 1 million additional passengers have flown in and out of the airport in four years.

“We are fortunate that Charleston International Airport continues to grow and has the support of the community and the passengers that choose us and the airlines that operate here for their flying needs,” said Paul Campbell, director of airports for the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

The Lowcountry’s recognition as a top tourist destination for both U.S. and international travelers and its growing business climate, including the aerospace, industrial and digital media sectors, are among the top reasons that air travel through CHS continues to grow, Campbell said.

Charleston passengers have access to 21 airports in 17 cities in the United States and Canada. This includes new seasonal service to Toronto via Porter Airlines, starting Feb. 14, and to Orlando and Tampa, Fla., on Silver Airways, starting March 19.

In addition to the new carriers, Charleston is served by Delta Air Lines, US Airways, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways.

To accommodate the increased passenger growth and more expected to come over the next decade, the airport is in the throes of a $189 million expansion, adding five gates, a third baggage carousel, an eight-lane consolidated security checkpoint, new restaurants and vendors and numerous other amenities.

Talks are already underway for a second parking deck and possibly even a third wing to handle future passenger growth.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.