Meeting the air transportation needs of international companies in the Upstate is up to airlines, not GSP, officials said.
Despite a growing base of international companies in the Upstate, Greenville Spartanburg International Airport does not provide non-stop access to international locations. But filling that need, if it arises, is up to airlines, not the airport, said Rosylin Weston, GSP spokeswoman.
“We’re always looking to expand and improve service at GSP,” Weston said. “But that doesn’t always mean talking to new carriers.”
Currently, GSP is in talks with Air Canada to bring the airline to the Upstate. Officials anticipate holding their next meeting with the airline at their headquarters in Montreal in late August/early September.
But the decision to bring new airlines into the market, or to expand access to direct international flights, isn’t necessarily up to the airport, she said.
“Any of the 14 cities we offer direct service to can connect to international destinations,” she said. “And if an airline sees that there is a market for a direct flight to an international destination, then it’s up to them expand their market.”
Currently, GSP has six airlines flying out of its base – Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta, Southwest and United.
In comparison, Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, SC has three (American Airlines, Delta and United) while Asheville Regional Airport in Asheville, NC has four (Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta and United). Charleston International Airport in Charleston, SC houses six airlines as well – American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, United, Jet Blue and Air Alaska.
About 60 percent of the airport’s passengers are flying for business, Weston said.
And as international companies come into the Upstate, the airport works closely with the organizations recruiting those businesses. The airport is ready as an international gateway, if the need arises.
“If an airline wanted to decide to have international service out of GSP, we can do that already in our international terminal,” Weston said. “Our customs area has the capacity to process 250 customers per hour.”
The airport is expanding in other ways to meet customer demands, as well.
At the airport’s July 11 meeting, the airport commission approved a lease to PSA Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines, to provide a hanger for maintenance of two commercials jets. The lease would allow PSA to use the airport’s 45,000 square foot hanger to conduct maintenance, repair and overhaul work on the Bombadier CRJ 700 and CRJ 900 jets.
Scott Carr, vice president for commercial business and properties at GSP said he is also he is working on another potential client, an air cargo company interested in year-round daily service for two Boeing 767-300 aircraft.
Carr did not name the company.