MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Horry County says passengers flying in and out of Myrtle Beach International Airport has dropped dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic.
Scott Van Moppes, who’s the director of MYR airport, says airlines are canceling flights to the point where some locations may not fly here until the pandmemic is over. It’s been a lot quieter there as April begins. Van Moppes says only 131 passengers arrived at MYR on monday.
That’s a 95% decrease from nearly 3,000 arrivals the same day a year ago.
“Airlines will continue to consolidate flights,” said Van Moppes. “We expect these to eventually drop to one or two times a week and many locations will stop until the situation ends.”
Spirit Airlines announced it suspended service from five airports in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. MYR also says other airlines have canceled flights from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, along with Philadelphia and Charlotte. The airport said last week it’s screening flyers from “heavily impacted areas” for coronavirus symptoms.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also ordered out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine for 14 days and Horry County’s police chief says they’re told to do that when they land at MYR.
“We’re taking it upon their word that they’re doing that,” said Chief Joseph Hill. “We will send out officers to double check that once we get information, but our current force is very limited in what we can do right now in our current staffing.”
Van Moppes says the airport is crucial infrastructure and only the FAA can close the airport.
“The areas often overlooked when asking to close an airport are law enforcement needs, Department of Defense, medical services, air cargo and air traffic control that affects a much larger geographic zone,” he said.
Van Moppes also says demand has never been higher at MYR for cargo shipments and medical supplies.
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