MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach International Airport had its busiest January ever.

The airport reports more than 53,000 arrivals and 56,000 departures in January. Both figures are more than double January 2021 and a little more than 16% higher than January 2020 before the onset of the pandemic.

Airport spokesman Ryan Betcher said the numbers continue a post-pandemic trend of record travel.

“What we’ve seen consecutively for every month since then is that we’re setting records, we’re hitting levels that we didn’t even hit in 2019––which was our prior record-setting year,” Betcher said.

Betcher said he expects the rest of 2022 to continue the trend, especially with Avelo Airlines adding service to Myrtle Beach while Spirit Airlines is adding nine non-stop flights for this summer.

“It’s a promising trend that there’s still this strong demand for travel to and from the Myrtle Beach area––something that we anticipate is going to continue for quite a while and our airline partners recognize that,” Betcher said.

Betcher said the shoulder season at MYR is shortening with growing passenger volumes year-round.

“The shoulder seasons are definitely bulking up compared to what they used to be in the past,” Betcher said. “We’re seeing much larger schedule increases kind of earlier, starting as early as February and going into March.”

The increased passenger volume trickles down to ride-sharing drivers like Kunta Nyameba, who drove for Lyft last summer in Myrtle Beach.

“It was call after call after call,” Nyameba said.

In the offseason, Nyameba drives weekends in Charleston but expects to be driving all week long in Myrtle Beach soon.

“People are saying March 1, March 15, but as soon as I start seeing the numbers trend, I’ll be back here exclusively,” Nyameba said.

Nyameba even bought a new car two weeks ago to be ready for more rides this season.

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