Charleston International Airport security checkpoint (copy)

Charleston International Airport will close late Wednesday because of Hurricane Florence. Charleston County Aviation Authority/Provided

South Carolina's busiest airport won't see any flights Thursday or Friday, and possibly longer.

Charleston International will shut down late Wednesday night for Hurricane Florence, CEO Paul Campbell said Tuesday.

The airport will close the runways after 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. They are tentatively set to reopen at 7 a.m. Saturday, but that could change depending on the storm's intensity and aftermath.

The Air Force owns the two runways at Charleston International and provides emergency fire and rescue services for all commercial and general aviation aircraft taking off and landing. Those Air Force personnel are following the directive of the governor to evacuate, according to a statement from the airport.

“The safety of our passengers and airport employees is our No. 1 priority," Campbell said. "We cannot safely continue flight operations without crash, fire and rescue services available. The runways will reopen when the Air Force determines it is safe, and that depends on the impact Hurricane Florence has on the area.”

Air Force personnel have been told the runways will be closed until Monday, but Campbell said the Air Force intends to reopen the runways as soon as it is safe.

The airport has eight carriers: Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and United. It also  operates more than 160 flights a day coming and going.

Alaska, Allegiant, Frontier and Southwest began cancelling flights Tuesday, according to Charleston airport.

United, American, Delta and JetBlue discontinued flights Wednesday.

Passengers should check with their airline for the latest information on flights. For the latest information from the airport, go to: http://bit.ly/2x6XoXw 

The two smaller airports in Charleston County — Charleston Executive Airport on Johns Island and Mount Pleasant Regional — were set to close at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.