Myrtle Beach International Airport is poised to surpass traffic from 2000, the busiest year in its history, according to August passenger figures released by the Horry County Department of Airports.
"Unless something happens, we're on track for our biggest year," said assistant airport director Bob Woods. "All indications are that we will exceed 800,000 enplanements [boarding passengers] this year. We've never crossed that hurdle before."
In 2000, the airport tallied 792,529 boarding passengers.
The number of boarding passengers at the airport in August was 87,137, compared with 81,604 in August 2004.
Year-to-date, the airport has boarded 568,856 passengers. During the same period in 2000, 557,179 passengers had boarded at Myrtle Beach International Airport.
Woods said the growing population of the area and improving economy, plus additional major carriers at the airport such as United Airlines, have contributed to the growth.
"I think the economy certainly is good," Woods said. "I think people have a more positive feeling this year, and certainly just with the growth of the area ... as more people move down here, we see the mushrooming population and that's going to create more travel, just from the permanent residents."
Mickey McCamish, president of Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, said the group's most recent research indicates at least 40 percent of golfers come to Myrtle Beach by air. He thinks the number has probably climbed.
"We've added flights since then, like Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, where there are a lot of golfers," McCamish said.
Year-to-date, Myrtle Beach International Airport's boarding passenger traffic is up nearly 4 percent from the same time last year. According to The Boyd Group, a Colorado-based airline industry analyst, the national average for airport growth through July of this year was 6.1 percent.
"You're not too far off. You're on the money," President Mike Boyd said.
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