April 2, 2013 should stand as a recognized beginning of a new era in Myrtle Beach, at least with regard to travel. After years of planning and construction, the new $118 million, 240,000 square foot terminal adds a number of new gates and excellent potential for increased traffic to the Grand Strand.
Representatives from the popular Myrtle Beach dinner theater attraction Medieval Times, which simulates a Middle-Ages jousting tournament, greeted passengers off their arriving planes, presenting the ladies with a flower in order to make their first strolls through the new Myrtle Beach International Airport a memorable one.
The new terminal increases the number of gates at the airport from seven to 13, nearly doubling the potential for new flights in and out of one of the eastern United States’ most popular vacation destinations.
With the new terminal—which brings the airport up to 430,000 total square feet—come new businesses, representing a mix of the local and widely popular. Representing the former, a new outpost of the popular Nacho Hippo, already with roots in Myrtle Beach’s Market Common district, will serve passengers on there way out of Myrtle Beach and on their way back. Nacho Hippo, as the name would suggest, is well-known for its interesting varieties of nachos, but also offers inventive Mexican favorites such as tacos, quesadillas, burritos and other specialties, as well as their signature margaritas. Nacho Hippo is run by the local Divine Dining Group, which operates such noted Grand Strand eateries as Divine Fish House, Ultimate California Pizza and River City Café.
A nod to more nationally-known food is the new location of Steak ‘n Shake, which has also opened in Myrtle Beach International Airport’s brand-new terminal. This is the area’s second Steak n’ Shake, the first residing at the Tanger Outlet Center on Rt. 17 near North Myrtle Beach. Dating back to 1934, Steak ‘n Shake is known as the home of the Original Steakburger as well as beloved French fries and “hand-dipped” milkshakes. This is the first Steak ‘n Shake to be located in an airport and will serve as a proving ground or future similar associations for the brand.
Myrtle Beach International Airport serves over 25 cities directly, with seven airlines operating into and out of the Grand Strand. It is an ideal mix of major international carriers such as Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways and more boutique operations like the Canadian Porter Airlines and WestJet, as well as Allegiant and Spirit Airlines. These carriers serve cities as far west as Dallas, as far south as Ft. Lauderdale and as far north as Toronto as well as major metropolitan areas like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
The project garnered major, critical support from such organizations as the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Myrtle Beach Golf Holiday, Myrtle Beach Area Hotel Association, Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Horry County State Delegation. The result will be a Myrtle Beach more accessible from hundreds of miles away to more people than ever before.