MYRTLE BEACH — Myrtle Beach International Airport announced new nonstop flights for the summer, just as the coastal South Carolina airport has witnessed two record-breaking years of passenger numbers.
Spirit Airlines, the largest carrier at Myrtle Beach International Airport, will add a seasonal nonstop flight to Rochester, N.Y., beginning May 15. Flights will operate four times per week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, the Miramar, Fla.-based airline announced.
Meanwhile, Allegiant Air will launch a seasonal nonstop flight to the Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio beginning on June 1, according to the Las Vegas-based airline. Flights will operate two times per week on Thursday and Sunday.
"We couldn't be more excited for these new routes," Judi Olmstead, assistant director of airports, said in a statement. "Both markets have incredibly high travel demand, yet both were considered underserved due to a lack of nonstop flight options."
The airport, located on the south end of the state’s top tourist city, has seen two consecutive years of record-breaking passenger tallies, starting in 2021 when 3.2 million passengers flew in and out after COVID-19 restrictions eased, as well as last year when nearly 3.5 million passengers passed through its gates.
As many tourists are catching up with delayed travel plans, the airport with decades of operation along the Grand Strand plans to expand parking with additional construction projects to accommodate increased visitor demand for the summer’s busy tourist season, which is starting to bleed into the fall and winter.
In recent years, Myrtle Beach has marketed itself as a more year-round destination to attract more tourists.
The airport plans to add an additional 600 long-term parking spaces that will become available once a $27.6 million rental-car lot remodeling project is finished in May. An additional 44 extra spaces are also planned for the airport’s short-term cellphone lot, the free curbside waiting area off Jetport Road.
Last year, airport parking nearly reached its 2,600-vehicle capacity a couple of times, especially during Thanksgiving week, which is a peak national travel period.
The parking expansion is one part of the airport’s nearly $100-million, multiyear renovation project. Other project areas include a larger fuel farm for aircraft, an additional TSA checkpoint and a planned future airport terminal expansion.