“Deploy the landing gear”: MYR expansion is underway

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach International is “stepping in now” into the future.

The Horry County Airports Department has announced a series of new “coming to the runway” improvements.

Awnings are being installed on the rental car parking lot, and they are in the middle of putting them up. That should mean more shade and light so the vehicles aren’t as hot in the summer.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg as MYR has a bunch of projects that are about to “deploy their landing gear”.

“Smooth sailing all the way,” said Joanne Derwin, who is from Pennsylvania. “Nice day to fly. Cold in Pennsylvania. Beautiful here.

The alluring weather that brought Erwin to Myrtle Beach for Easter vacation is the same that brought more than 3 million people to the beach last year.

With this type of traffic, MYR feels ready to add.

“This will allow us to cope with this new post-pandemic traffic. It was something the airport was considering in 2019 before the pandemic, but was put on hold simply due to industry-wide uncertainty.

That uncertainty disappeared after the airport broke its passenger record last year, including a July that set a state record for passengers in a month.

The expansion will include 5-6 new gates, new restrooms and restaurants, and a new TSA screening area.

Derwin hopes some of these new restaurants will open before his next visit.

“A nice place to sit because they don’t serve much food on the plane anymore,” Derwin said. “We’re going to have a long drive home on Sunday, so somewhere you can sit, not just fast food.”

Another passenger hopes more gates mean more direct flights.

“I think I flew straight to New York another time probably seven years ago,” said Julian Young, who flew in from New York. “I would relive that experience if I could.”

TSA lines were at the gate during the busiest point of summer last year, so adding another check-in area will hopefully get people onto their planes faster so they don’t have to arrive so early.

Of course, none of this will happen overnight, so airport staff are working to make sure everything runs smoothly while improvements are underway.

“Working closely with the TSA to expedite checks and working with our carriers to try to get them out there as much as possible.”

Maybe when Derwin next visits, the transformation will be complete so she can spend less time online and more time with her family in the Grand Strand.

“She’s five minutes from the beach and I need some beach time after a long Pennsylvania winter,” Derwin said.

These changes are all over the airport, so they will all have different times; however, a spokesperson for MYR said they were finishing the design over the next few months and some parts would likely be under construction at some point this year.

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