Aug 09 2004

Graham Statement on Spirit Airlines and Myrtle Beach International Airport

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made the following statement on news the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded slots to Spirit Airlines to provide one new daily round-trip flight between Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). On July 15, Graham along with South Carolina Senator Fritz Hollings, Congressmen Henry Brown and James Clyburn sent a letter to DOT Secretary Norman Mineta encouraging him to award the slot to Myrtle Beach and Spirit Airlines. Earlier this year Graham announced MYR will receive over $3.5 million in federal grants to help construct a new terminal and rehabilitate a taxiway. In addition, he helped the airport secure their own TSA director instead of having to share one with Charleston and pledged assistance for the airport when it begins applying for a designation as a port-of-entry, a distinction requiring the federal government to pay for customs handling. “Air travel is very important to Myrtle Beach and the tourism industry. People love visiting Myrtle Beach and the more convenient we can make it to get there the better. “I appreciate Secretary Mineta making this designation which will prove to be beneficial to Myrtle Beach, Spirit Airlines, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The lack of convenient, daily nonstop service to Washington was a glaring gap in Myrtle Beach’s air service. Washington is an important market for bringing tourists to Myrtle Beach and the addition of this new air service will provide significant benefits to the local community. “I've been very impressed by the growth of air travel in Myrtle Beach. We must continue to build the necessary infrastructure to allow the airport to grow. There's no doubt in my mind that increased air travel will tremendously enhance economic opportunities in the Grand Strand.” According to DOT, Spirit must begin its service to Myrtle Beach by October 31. ######