Tag: general aviation

Horry County General Aviation Woes in Conway

General aviation at the Conway Airport is another area in which the Horry County Department of Airports has missed the boat.

The county’s three general aviation airports, Conway, North Myrtle Beach and Loris, were a topic of specific discussion at Horry County Council’s budget retreat last spring because of the continuing deficit they generate.

Conway airport is an interesting study in what is wrong with general aviation in Horry County.

The North American Institute of Aviation relocated from Hammonton, NJ to Conway in 1978 in the same time period that Horry County government was instituting the recently passed home rule for county government.

For the next 20 years, Horry County government didn’t have worries about the Conway airport as the school thrived through close connections with the Scandinavian countries of Europe. The school paid rent to the county for the facilities it used and also was the Fixed Base Operator for Conway airport, although sources say the FBO was run to basically support the school.

In the late 1990’s NAIA enrollment began to decline because of a saturation point being reached in the number of Scandinavian pilots and new European Union laws that did not automatically accept U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification of the pilots that trained here.

Myrtle Beach International Airport

The New Horry County Transportation Committee

The Horry County Transportation Committee held its inaugural meeting Thursday.

Appointed by Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus, after the Airport Advisory Board was discontinued several months ago, the committee members are Gary Loftus, Chairman and Johnny Vaught, Bill Howard and Lazarus.

The committee will provide initial oversight of issues for the full council on airports, Coast RTA and the railroad.

With the railroad sale now completed, R.J. Corman, the new owners, are clearing the track in preparation of fixing the line and bridges so that the portion in North Carolina to the SCDOT bridge across the waterway at Myrtle Beach can be opened for traffic.

Lazarus said Corman wants to open the track as quickly as possible for service to those former users and possibly new economic development opportunities associated with rail freight.

In time, it is possible that special passenger excursions, dinner trains, and the like will be run from Myrtle Beach to Conway, but that is for the future.

The largest undertaking over the next several months will be committee involvement with a comprehensive airport master plan for the county’s four general aviation airports – Myrtle Beach International, Grand Strand in North Myrtle Beach, Conway and Loris.

Myrtle Beach International Airport

Horry County Council Looks at Airports

One of the more interesting discussions at the recent Horry County Council budget retreat dealt with the county’s Department of Airports.

Concerns were expressed about the county’s three general aviation airports, Grand Strand, Conway and Loris, all losing money.

The Department of Airports showed a net operating loss of approximately $150,000 last year. The three general aviation airports accounted for a total loss of approximately $400,000 while Myrtle Beach International Airport showed a profit of approximately $250,000.