Starbucks opens at Myrtle Beach airport as traffic sets records, expansion planned

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Passengers and others traveling through the Myrtle Beach airport now have a new Starbucks to enjoy at the region’s fastest-growing airport.

The world’s largest coffeehouse chain held a grand opening on Thursday afternoon hosted by the Myrtle Beach International Airport. The new Starbucks is on the second floor of the terminal, beyond the security checkpoint, and initially opened July 26.

While officials were hopeful the new coffee shop would open before memorial day along with a new Salt & Tide beer/wine bar, the opening today is still a sign of the airport’s quick rebound and growth after pandemic travel restrictions.

Passenger traffic for 2021 has surpassed expectations so far, airport officials said. Myrtle Beach International Airport saw a 35% increase in passengers in June compared to the same month in 2019, which was the previous best, according to airport officials.

“The level of passenger traffic we’re seeing at MYR this summer is truly incredible,” Director of Airports Scott Van Moppes said. “Summer travel began early this year with a record number of passengers traveling through MYR in May and even more in June, with total passenger counts eclipsing our best June on record.”

Plus, the airport’s $22 million terminal expansion project is back on after it was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “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.”

In recent months, Southwest Airlines, Frontier, 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, Spirit, Sun Country and American.

Myrtle Beach leads the tri-state region in growth. 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.

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