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CHS passenger counts see uptick from eclipse

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The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 gave air travel at Charleston International Airport a bump during a typically slower month.

The city’s location in the line of totality attracted nearly 30,000 people to stay in Charleston hotels the night before the eclipse, maxing out the city’s hotel capacity, according to the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis.

Passengers watched the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 at Charleston International Airport. (Photo/Provided)Many of those travelers flew in to and out of the Charleston airport in the days before and after the event; others opted to fly in and out the same day.

Transportation Security Administration officials screened 900 passengers at its departure checkpoint between 3 and 4 p.m. on the day of the eclipse. TSA typically screens between 250 and 450 passengers an hour.

“Of the summer months, August is typically slower than the others; however, we saw a marked increase in the number of people in and out of the terminal, particularly in the days leading up to and right after the eclipse,” Paul Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said in a news release. “That gave us a nice boost for the month.”

Overall for August, the airport handled around 365,000 passengers, up 10.4% compared with August 2016.

Deplanements increased 11.1% from the same time last year, with 183,000 travelers in August. Enplanements rose 9.7% compared with last year, with around 181,000 passengers last month.

Some 2.7 million passengers have traveled through the Charleston airport thus far this year.

The airport expects to surpass 4 million passengers by the year’s end.

Staff writer Patrick Hoff contributed to this report.

Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.

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