By: Matthew Christian
FLORENCE, S.C. – The addition of jet service is paying off for the Florence Regional Airport.
In a presentation Monday to the Florence Rotary Club, the airport’s executive director, Connie Anderson, said the airport had seen an increase in the number of people boarding a plane at the airport since jet service was reintroduced on July 4.
“We did see our enplanements go up for the month of July and the month of August – not large, but every number is positive, and I’m running with it,” Anderson said. “So, you’re looking at almost 900 more people flying out of Florence in July and August.”
The data for September is not yet available.
In response to a question from a Rotarian, Anderson also said the airport has seen a reduction in the number of delays and cancellations since Piedmont Air flew its last de Havilland Canada “Dash 8” into the airport on July 4. The airline now flies Embraer E145s between Florence and Charlotte.
Piedmont operates four flights daily from Florence to Charlotte under the banner of American Eagle, a regional airline wholly owned by the American Airlines Group.
Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce President Mike Miller and Anderson both said during the presentation that many of the remaining delays at the airport are caused by issues in Charlotte.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport is the 10th busiest airport in the United States and the 32nd busiest in the world in terms of passenger traffic.
Miller said that when the planes all try to enter or leave Charlotte at the same time, it creates delays that are felt in Florence.
Anderson also said the airport had discussed the reinstitution of service between Florence and Atlanta with Delta Air Lines. However, she added that the airline was not interested in service to Florence at this time. She also said that no other airlines were currently looking at expanding to Florence.
The airport also is moving toward a more community-oriented approach, according to Anderson. The airport now hosts a book exchange and a new restaurant. The airport also has held a recent kids’ day and hosted a birthday party.
Anderson said the goal is to become the community’s airport and get the youth more interested in the airport.