CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Myrtle Beach International Airport is ramping up plans for a new terminal that have been stalled for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the airport’s director told Horry County leaders Tuesday afternoon.

The $22 million terminal expansion had been scheduled to begin in early 2020 but was delayed by COVID-19. Now that the pandemic seems to be waning, the airport is seeing record numbers of flights and passengers. Airport Director Scott Van Moppes told the county’s infrastructure committee on Tuesday it’s time to proceed again with the terminal project.

“We’re planning to bring in an architect next month and see about adding gates to the terminal,” Van Moppes said. “We have 13 now, but we’re going to try and add four or five. That would bring us to a total of 17 or 18.”

Statistics for June 2019 and June 2021 presented to county leaders on Tuesday show the number of arriving flights at MYR has increased by 794 to 2,299 during that time, a 53% increase. MYR is also anticipating nearly 7,500 arriving flights between June and August of this year, a number that Van Moppes said is about 2,900 more than during the same months in 2019

“We also have over 1 million incoming seats,” he said. “Our best year ever was 1.3 million passengers, so that gives you an idea of the growth.” Statistics showed MYR had 648,438 arriving seats from June-August in 2019.

Among regional airports in Charleston, Greenville/Spartanburg, Savannah, Columbia and Wilmington, statistics for June 2019 and June 2021 show MYR with a 47% increase in arriving seats, an increase of 101,218 to 317,558. The next closest was Savannah, which showed an 11% increase, up 19,670 seats to 206,067.

In recent months, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines announced new services at the airport. United added non-stop flights to several U.S. cities in March. Southwest had its inaugural flight on May 24 and also offers non-stop flights to several U.S. cities. Other airlines with MYR flights include Allegiant, Delta, Frontier, Spirit, Sun Country and American.