Passengers flying out of Charleston International Airport are paying less for average domestic airfare than those at other regional airports recently ranked by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The DOT’s third quarter 2014 airfare report
ranks the top 100 airports on average domestic airfare, which was $399.53 at CHS during the period ending September 2014. That’s a 1.3 percent drop from the same quarter in 2013 when average domestic airfare was $404.81. CHS’s average domestic airfare has dropped 35 percent since 2000.
Among its competitor airports, CHS passengers paid $24.71 less per domestic ticket than travelers flying out of Greenville-Spartanburg International, $39.93 less than Charlotte-Douglas International fliers and $45.53 less than passengers at Savannah/Hilton Head International. The U.S. average domestic airfare is $396.37, according to the DOT report. That’s only $3.16 less than CHS’s average airfare.
Paul G. Campbell Jr., director of airports for the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said several factors have helped create affordable and competitive airfare. Those include growth by all CHS airlines, including JetBlue, which arrived in 2013, and Southwest, which arrived in 2011. In addition to JetBlue and Southwest, airlines at CHS are Delta, United, American and U.S. Airways.
Passengers also have more choices with the addition of new flights by existing airlines and the addition of two new airlines. Starting Feb. 14, Porter Airlines will offer weekly, seasonal, non-stop service to Toronto, Canada. Beginning March 19, Silver Airways will start daily non-stop service to Tampa and Orlando, Fla.
CHS now offers non-stop service to 21 airports in 17 cities in the U.S. and Canada. In the end, that benefits passengers, Campbell said.
“We expect to see continued competitive and affordable airfare because that is important to the passengers we serve,” Campbell said. “In 2014 we welcomed 3.1 million travelers at Charleston International. We are proud of all that our airlines and other tenants do to create a great passenger experience even while we are renovating the airport.”
The $189 million Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Project (www.chs-trip.com
) is slated for completion in late 2015. The airport is expanding from 10 to 15 gates, building all new ticket counters and modernizing its baggage handling systems to include a third carousel in baggage claim. In addition airside apron space has increased, the new Central Energy Plant is providing service to the terminal and a consolidated TSA security checkpoint will make screening passengers faster and more efficient.