Perhaps there’s some angle to this story that hasn’t been reported yet, some angle that will mean GOOD news for a change about air fares out of Columbia. But so far I’m not seeing any. In fact, this Charleston story doesn’t even mention that other city in the middle of the state:
Southwest Airlines has set a course for South Carolina.
The low-fare carrier said today it would launch service at both Charleston International and Greenville-Spartanburg International airports. The deal came after weeks of debate over proposed incentives to lure a discount airline. Southwest said it would offer the flights without any public assistance, aside from routine start-up help from Charleston International Airport.
The Dallas-based airline will start flights to and from South Carolina within the year. It will spend the next four or five months studying which cities to connect with the Palmetto State.
Officials estimate the airline will bring in 200,000 additional passengers annually.
Charleston’s cry for discount flights recently reached fever pitch in the wake of soaring rates after AirTran Airways’ December departure. Passengers watched as tickets to New York, for example, soared from a little more than $200 round-trip without a required overnight stay to nearly $800.
I don’t recall seeing why AirTrain pulled out of Charleston. What will likely happen (at least in the short run) is that CHS and GSP will get flights to one or two Southwest hubs (perhaps Nashville, maybe Houston). You’ll still have to connect to go other places.