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Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

The number of passengers flying through Myrtle Beach International Airport soared up to nearly 3.5 million people in 2022, setting a new record for the airport for the second consecutive year.

Total passenger traffic at MYR, including in-traffic and out-traffic, included 3,459,803 passengers in 2022, compared to 3,210,247 in 2021. The total number of people entering Myrtle Beach totaled 1,725,861 in 2022, compared to 1,604,110 in 2021.

Ryan Betcher, director of general aviation and properties at MYR, said the airport spent 2022 continuing to pursue the same goals the staff set in 2021, but with a better ability to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was just a busy year, really,” Betcher said. “A big part of the issue was kind of stabilizing us. We definitely saw a lot of leisure demand. But we also saw a lot of locals using the airport. And that was something that became very apparent during the second half of the year. …We were able to bring on some new air service that really helped contribute to a strong 2022.”

Betcher said Myrtle Beach should expect a strong 2023, with a summer season comparable to previous years and increased demand in the spring and fall seasons.

“From a project standpoint, we have some parking lot improvement projects that are coming online for 2023,” he said. “And then the other thing is we’re doing our planning process and planning design for a terminal expansion into Concourse A.”

The parking expansion project will consist of 404 additional spaces connected to the existing long-term parking, as well as an additional 44 parking spaces for the vehicle cell phone waiting area.

Horry County Department of Airports estimates that the project will cost approximately $3 million (to be funded with HCDA cash reserves) and is scheduled to be completed this summer.

In addition, the rental car canopy project is scheduled to be completed by late spring, which will allow HCDA to put back into use 224 long-term parking spaces currently being used to support construction activities for the rental car project.

In total, 600 additional long-term parking spaces will be opened for the public throughout the next year.

Reach Hannah Strong Oskin at 843-488-7242 or follow her on Twitter @HannahSOskin.

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