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Passenger traffic at CHS dips in January

Aerospace
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Passenger traffic at Charleston International Airport dipped 11.6% in January compared with the year prior after a snowstorm forced the airport to halt operations for several days.

More than 218,700 people flew in and out of the airport in January, the airport said.

Officials expect the airport to top 4 million passengers in 2018, a goal the airport nearly achieved in 2017. More than 3.98 million passengers flew in and out last year, setting a record for the airport.

The airport anticipates a busy spring and summer season as airlines expand existing service or launch new routes at the airport.

Frontier Airlines and Allegiant will launch new routes in the first half of 2018. Delta and American Airlines will add flights, and Alaska Air will increase service from four days a week to five.

“We were disappointed to see the decrease, but it was expected,” Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said in a news release. “With two new airlines, several new routes and travel remaining at a high, I am confident 2018 will be another record-breaking year.”

Economic impact

The S.C. Aeronautics Commission released a study showing that airports across the state contribute $16.3 billion annually to the state and local economies.

“We believe this study strongly supports the important contribution that airports make to our economy,” James Stephens, the commission’s executive director, said in a news release. “Overall, the 57 airports in our system contribute $16.3 billion in annual economic activity and support, in some way, almost 123,000 jobs.”

The study found Charleston International Airport employs 186 people and generates $17.9 million in direct annual economic activity. It also has 37 tenants, which employ 1,530 workers.

The state has six commercial airports and 51 general aviation airports. For each airport, the commission analyzed economic activity generated by general aviation visitor spending, commercial aviation visitor spending, capital improvement spending, airport tenants and airport management. 

The state’s airports generate $4.8 billion in total payroll and $11.5 billion in total spending, the study found.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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