Charleston International Airport
|Airport type||Public / Military|
Joint Base Charleston
|Operator||Charleston County Aviation Authority|
|Location||North Charleston, S.C. (US)|
|Elevation AMSL||46 ft / 14 m|
Charleston International Airport (IATA: CHS, ICAO: KCHS, FAA LID: CHS) is a joint civil-military airport located in North Charleston, South Carolina. The airport is operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority under a joint-use agreement with Joint Base Charleston. It is South Carolina's largest and busiest airport; in 2019 the airport served nearly 4.9 million passengers in its busiest year on record. The airport is located in North Charleston and is approximately 12 miles (19 km) northwest of downtown Charleston. The airport is also home to the Boeing facility that assembles the 787 Dreamliner.
In 1928, the Charleston Airport Corporation was founded and purchased 700 acres of land previously belonging to a mining company. Although privately developed at first, the City of Charleston floated bonds in 1931 to acquire a portion of the site for passenger service. Within ten years, three runways were paved and outfitted with lighting for nighttime operations. In World War II, control of the airfield passed to the United States Army though civilian service was allowed to continue to use the airfield. After the war, the airfield reverted to civilian use for a short time. In 1949, a new passenger terminal was built.
During the Korean War, the airfield was reactivated for military use and in 1952, the City of Charleston and the United States Air Force reached an agreement on control of the base and the runways--an arrangement that has been renegotiated over time and that continues to this day. In 1979, the civilian portions of the airport were transferred from the City of Charleston to the Charleston County Aviation Authority, which had operated two other airports in the area. The current terminal on the south end of the airport was built in the 1980s on land acquired by Georgia Pacific.
In October 2009, Boeing announced that it would build a major plant on 265 acres at the airport as a second final assembly site for its 787 Dreamliner commercial aircraft. The facility began limited operations in July 2011 and rolled out its first completed aircraft in April 2012. Additional facilities to complement aircraft assembly have since been announced by the company.
Throughout its history, all three domestic legacy carriers (American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines) and their predecessor companies or affiliates have served Charleston International Airport. Aside from the legacy carriers, Charleston has seen periods of additional air service from other carriers, but prior to 2010, those services were short-lived. The airport has had brief periods of international service. In 2001, Air Canada briefly served the airport from Toronto but ended service immediately after the September 11th attacks. Porter Airlines briefly served Charleston with flights to Toronto in 2015.
Since 2010, the airport's passenger figures have doubled. New services established by additional airlines during this time along with increased services from the three legacy carriers have contributed to this growth. As of 2019, the airport is the only facility in South Carolina to offer regular flights to destinations in all four time zones in the contiguous United States.
In October 2018, British Airways announced the commencement of a direct route from London Heathrow for the summer season, flying twice weekly which commenced in April 2019. This became the first scheduled transatlantic flight to operate from Charleston. This also makes Charleston the smallest U.S. city that British Airways services, and the only U.S. city that they service seasonally. This route was cancelled following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The airport consists of four general areas: the military area to the west, the airline terminal to the south, the general aviation area to the east, and the Boeing assembly area further to the south. The combined airport area of Charleston International Airport and Charleston Air Force Base covers 2,060 acres (830 ha) and has two runways: 15/33, 9,001 ft × 200 ft (2,744 m × 61 m) and 03/21, 7,000 ft × 150 ft (2,134 m × 46 m).
For the 12-month period ending May 31, 2019, the airport had 118,211 aircraft operations, an average of 324 per day: 42% commercial, 28% general aviation, 16% military, and 13% air taxi. In May 2019, there were 81 aircraft based at this airport: 28 single-engine, 6 multi-engine, 43 jet, and 4 helicopter.
Joint Base Charleston owns and operates the runways at the airport and has an agreement with the Charleston County Aviation Authority to allow civilian use of the field. General aviation services are operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority. Boeing South Carolina operates the Boeing assembly area.
The current airline terminal completed a three-year, $200 million redevelopment project in 2016 which added five gates and significantly renovated the interior appearance of the facility. The original terminal was built in 1987 and was designed by Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff, Davis & Floyd, Inc., and Lucas & Stubbs.
Both departures and arrivals are located on the same floor, with the departure area to the east end of the terminal and the arrival area to the west end. Flights depart from two concourses: Concourse A towards the east and Concourse B towards the west. Since 2015, a consolidated TSA security checkpoint is utilized for both concourses. Charleston International Airport is classified as a security-level Category I airport by the TSA. The airport is equipped to handle international flights.
Concourse A contains five gates that are primarily used by Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection, with other airlines occasionally using gates as needed for overflow. Concourse B contains ten gates and is used by other airlines serving the airport. Concourse B also contains the international arrivals facility.
Charleston International Airport is located near the interchange of Interstate 26 and Interstate 526 and is accessible from both interstates using International Boulevard and Montague Avenue exits. The airport does offer a free cell phone parking lot for passenger pickups. For short-term and long-term parking, the airport offers surface or garage parking for up to 30 days. Rental cars from major companies are available. The airport completed a rental car pavilion adjacent to the terminal in 2014.
CARTA, the regional mass transit system, serves the airport with two bus routes that operate seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to midnight.
|Allegiant Air|| Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus-Rickenbacker, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Punta Gorda (FL)|
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth|||
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-Reagan|||
|British Airways||Seasonal: London-Heathrow|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, New York-JFK|||
|Delta Connection||Boston, Detroit, New York-JFK, New York-LaGuardia|||
|Frontier Airlines|| Cleveland, Philadelphia|
Seasonal: Denver, Trenton
|JetBlue|| Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Newark,New York-JFK|
Seasonal: Los Angeles (begins December 18, 2020)
|Silver Airways||Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa|||
| Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Houston-Hobby, Nashville|
Seasonal: Atlanta,Dallas-Love, Denver, Kansas City,St. Louis
|United Airlines|| Chicago-O'Hare, Newark|
Seasonal: Houston-Intercontinental, Washington-Dulles
|United Express|| Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles
|Atlas Air||Anchorage, Everett, Grottaglie, Wichita-McConnell AFB|
|FedEx Express||Greensboro, Memphis, Nashville|
|UPS Airlines||Columbia (SC), Greenville/Spartanburg|
|1||Delta Air Lines||602,000||21.48%|
|2||Charlotte, North Carolina||183,290||American|
|3||New York-JFK, New York||103,280||Delta, JetBlue|
|5||Washington-National, D.C.||63,950||American, JetBlue|
|6||Chicago-O'Hare, Illinois||63,670||American, Frontier, United|
|7||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||75,590||American|
|8||Newark, New Jersey||61,570||United|
|9||Boston, Massachusetts||62,340||Delta, JetBlue|