Looking at the Horry County Department of Airports through the years, a conclusion can be drawn that businesses operating at the various airports are treated differently.
It’s almost as if winners and losers are chosen by airport officials based on no apparent criteria.
Such an attitude is contradictory to instructions from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Accepting FAA grant money (of which Horry County receives millions every year) and free land conveyance of former Air Force property brings with it certain requirements of and assurances from the county. The most important of these is that the airports and their facilities must be available for public use in a non-discriminatory manner.
However, after discouraging Hooters Air from renting hangar space at Myrtle Beach International Airport by insisting on rental of $5 per sq. ft., the Horry County Department of Airports rented the same hangars to AvCraft for $2 per sq. ft.
That was only the beginning rent. Over a 10 year period the airport department kept reducing rent , in an attempt to keep AvCraft in business, until the company finally went belly up.
The Conway airport was home to the North American Institute of Aviation. The school did well until the late 1990’s when enrollment started to decline.
Local businessman Benjamin Creel bought the school at that point, but its losses continued to mount.