September’s been a good month for the Charleston International Airport.
Volume to-date has surpassed 2019 passenger traffic, and business travel still hasn’t fully returned.
The airport saw an average increase of 138% passengers over Labor Day weekend.
Each day saw double the passengers from 2020, with Sept. 2 jumping from 2,951 last year to 6,791 passengers. The spikes continued through Labor Day with a difference of 5,238 passengers between the two years.
And now Southwest Airlines is adding a new nonstop service from Charleston to Austin, Texas — the first of its kind between the two cities. Flights are expected to begin March 10 between Charleston International Airport and Bergstrom International Airport.
“Southwest is an incredible partner, and it’s a real vote of confidence for the airport and this region that they’ve decided to expand their route map again from Charleston International,” said Elliott Summey, CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority. “The airport is a community asset, and one way we continue to increase the asset’s value is by providing access to more destinations for Charleston area residents.”
Departures from Charleston are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. EST, with arrival in Austin at 12:35 p.m. CST. Heading back to the Holy City, flights from Austin depart at 1:55 p.m. CST, with a Charleston arrival of 5:40 p.m. EST.
Since Southwest launched its service with Charleston in 2011, daily flights have grown to include connections between The Holy City and Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston and Nashville, Tenn., as well as seasonal service to Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis.
Chair of the Aviation Authority and CEO of Explore Charleston Helen Hill said the new connection is a “significant step forward” for not only Charleston, but for the travel industry as it recovers from the pandemic.
“Experience tells us visitors and locals respond extremely well to Southwest’s special brand of low-cost, high-quality customer service,” Hill said. “This new service is a win for both Austin and Lowcountry residents who can now more affordably and conveniently travel between these two spectacular destinations.”