MYR offers incentives for direct flights

To entice airlines, Myrtle Beach International Airport is dropping landing fees if airlines provide direct flights to three specific cities.

The airport's had the program in place for about five years now. It drops or reduces fees for airlines that provide direct flights for cities the airport wants to target.

Sue Fitzpatrick moved to Surfside Beach 12 years ago, but the majority of her family still lives in Indiana. Instead of flying home to see her family this holiday, she's driving 16 hours because she says there's less hassle.

"You have to go from Myrtle Beach to Atlanta, or Wilmington to Atlanta, or Charlotte to Atlanta. You just don't have that direct flight which would be great if they did."

But that hassle of bouncing from airport to airport may soon be a thing of the past.

"We're focusing on a few different markets based on the intelligence that we've gathered," said MYR spokeswoman Lauren Morris.

Morris says once Airtran left the market, the airport looked for ways to entice airlines to offer more direct flights. This year, the airport is dropping landing fees for airlines that offer a direct flight to Minneapolis, Dallas/Fort Worth and Indianapolis.

"It's around a million dollars, is what the airports contribution to the incentive program is. It's been as high as 1.4 and as low as 10,000. We've been more thoughtful as we've created through the years," Morris said.

MYR expects the increase in passengers from additional flights will more than make up for the loss of the landing fees. Fitzpatrick says she'll take advantage if the opportunity presents itself.

"I'd get out of here every three months if I could."

The airport is only allowed to offer these incentives to an airline for two years.

MYR is also offering a reduced landing fee to all airlines who will offer a direct flight to Philadelphia.

The airport is also dropping the landing fees for any non-stop round trip service between MYR and any international destination, including Canada.