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New Myrtle Beach seasonal flights from HIA start in May

It’s better than driving.

Harrisburg International Airport Executive Director Tim Edwards underscored that point Tuesday as HIA and Allegiant Air announced new flights to Myrtle Beach.

Given the 500-plus miles of asphalt which separate Central Pennsylvania from South Carolina, Edwards believes the pitch will resonate with midstate travelers who already flock to the resort for sandy beaches and golf courses.

The trips will operate twice weekly from May 19 through Sept. 18.

“Now you can spend more time on the beach and less in the car,” Edwards said.

Myrtle Beach will be Allegiant’s fourth nonstop destination from HIA. The growing Las Vegas-based budget carrier already served Orlando (Sanford), St. Petersburg and Punta Gorda in Florida.

“Allegiant is excited to give Harrisburg travelers the chance to visit Myrtle Beach nonstop for much less,” said Allegiant COO Jude Bricker. “We’re confident that travelers will enjoy planning their ultra-low-cost summer vacations with us to take advantage of all that Myrtle Beach has to offer.”

Edwards said nearly 300,000 passengers have flown on Allegiant services from the airport since 2012, at an average one-way price of $66 per ticket.

“New airline service is very difficult to secure, especially from the smaller markets, like Harrisburg,” Edwards said. “Most of the airlines are focusing their new opportunities on larger markets or international routes.”

That, Edwards said, is a factor of the many airline mergers in recent years, “so there are fewer opportunities out there for airports to secure more airline service.”

And that, he added, is why officials hope passengers will take advantage of the new service, giving Allegiant more reasons to do business in Harrisburg.

“Use it or lose it,” Edwards said.

In addition to Allegiant, HIA is served by Air Canada, American, Delta and United, with nonstop service to Philadelphia, Washington (Dulles), Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Charlotte and Atlanta.

This article was posted in the Central Penn Business Journal on March 8, 2016.

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