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Charleston Business

August eclipse propels CHS passenger counts

Sep 26, 2017 03:15PM ● By Kathleen Maris
Passenger traffic at Charleston International Airport rose 10.4 percent in August. Deplanements, which are passengers arriving at Charleston International Airport, increased 11.1 percent, while enplanements, which are passengers boarding a flight at CHS, rose 9.7 percent.

In 2017, CHS has experienced monthly increases in passenger traffic ranging from 5.5 percent to 9 percent. Last month’s increase comes as a report from the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, which calls the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse the biggest single tourist event ever recorded in the state. Charleston was a major destination for the eclipse. The airport saw many travelers arrive in the days before the event. Some passengers flew in and out the same day. That was felt in the security checkpoint where, between 3 and 4 p.m. on Aug. 21, the TSA screened 900 departing passengers. On a normal day, the TSA will screen between 250 and 450 departing passengers an hour.

“Of the summer months, August is typically slower than the others. However, we saw a marked increase in the number of people in an out of the terminal, particularly in the days leading up to and right after the eclipse,” said Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority. “That gave us a nice boost for the month.”

The airport is on track to top 4 million passengers in 2014, which would be a new record. Through August, 2.67 million passengers have flow in and out of Charleston International.