Charleston International Airport
|Charleston International Airport
|Airport type||Public / Military|
Joint Base Charleston
|Operator||Charleston County Aviation Authority / Charleston Field|
|Location||North Charleston, S.C. (US)|
|Elevation AMSL||46 ft / 14 m|
|Website||Charleston Int'l Airport|
FAA airport diagram
Source: Charleston Co. Aviation Authority
Charleston International Airport (IATA: CHS, ICAO: KCHS, FAA LID: CHS) is a joint civil-military airport located in North Charleston, South Carolina. It has two runways and is operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority under a joint-use agreement with Charleston Field, a facility of Joint Base Charleston. It is South Carolina's busiest airport; in 2014 the airport served 3,131,072 passengers in its busiest year on record. The airport is located in North Charleston and is approximately 12 miles (20 km) northwest of downtown Charleston. The airport is also home to the Boeing South Carolina facility that assembles the Boeing 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 compliment aircraft assembly have since been announced by the company.
Throughout its history, all four domestic legacy carriers and their predecessor companies have served Charleston International Airport. Aside from the legacy carriers, Charleston has seen periods of additional air service from other carriers. Air South served the airport in 1995 and 1996 before folding. In 2001, Air Canada briefly served Charleston from Toronto but ended service immediately after the September 11th attacks. Independence Air served the airport in 2005 and 2006, when the airline folded. AirTran Airways served the airport from 2007 to 2009.
Since 2010, the airport has seen significant growth in passenger figures as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways began to serve Charleston and existing carriers increased their services to existing hubs. In December 2014, Porter Airlines announced it would begin seasonal service between Charleston and Toronto in February 2015. In January 2015, Silver Airways announced that they will begin service to Tampa and Orlando from Charleston. 
Facilities and aircraft
In 2014 the airport had 105,782 aircraft operations, an average of 290 per day. Among itinerant operations, the traffic consisted of the following: 28.1% air carrier, 22.9% air taxi, 21.4% general aviation, and 14.2% military. About 13.3% of these flights were local operations, where the origin and destination were the same.
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. In 2009 secondary runway 3/21 was closed for nearly a year for reconstruction and resurfacing. In 2012 the main runway 15/33 was closed for reconstruction to replace the concrete and to extend the runway width from 150 feet to 200 feet. The main runway reopened in August 2013.
The current airline terminal was built in 1987 and was designed by Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff, Davis & Floyd, Inc., and Lucas & Stubbs. In 2013, the Charleston County Aviation Authority approved a $189 million Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) which will upgrade amenities and facilities in phases over a three-year period.
Flights from the terminal depart from two concourses: Concourse A on the right and Concourse B on the left. Each concourse has its own TSA security checkpoint, though a single security zone will be implemented upon completion of the current terminal renovation. Charleston International Airport is classified as a security-level Category I airport by the TSA. The airport is equipped to handle international flights.
General aviation services are located on the east side of the airport and are operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority.
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle||Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami||B|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, New York-JFK (begins April 17, 2015)||A|
|Delta Connection||Detroit, New York-JFK (ends April 16, 2015), New York-LaGuardia
|JetBlue Airways||Boston, New York-JFK, Washington-National||B|
|Porter Airlines||Seasonal: Toronto-Billy Bishop||B|
|Silver Airways||Orlando, Tampa (both begin March 19, 2015)||TBA|
|Southwest Airlines||Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Dallas-Love (begins April 11, 2015), Houston-Hobby, Nashville||B|
|United Express||Chicago-O'Hare, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, Washington-Dulles||A|
|US Airways Express||Charlotte, Philadelphia, Washington-National||B|
|Atlas Air||Grottaglie, McConnell AFB, Paine Field|
|FedEx Express||Memphis, Nashville|
|Martinaire for UPS Airlines||Greenville/Spartanburg, Columbia (SC)|
|Suburban Air Freight||Savannah|
|Carrier||Passengers (arriving and departing)|
|Delta Air Lines||
|ExpressJet (Delta or United)||
|Mesa (United or US Airways)||
|2||Charlotte, NC||208,000||US Airways|
|4||New York (JFK), NY||108,000||Delta, JetBlue|
|5||Washington (National), DC||94,000||JetBlue, US Airways|
|6||Chicago (Midway), IL||67,000||Southwest|
|7||New York (LaGuardia), NY||58,000||Delta|
|8||Philadelphia, PA||57,000||US Airways|
|9||Chicago (O'Hare), IL||56,000||United|
|Year||Total Number of
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.
- CARTA Express Route 4, also known as North Area Shuttle (NASH) Express is an express service to downtown Charleston with stops at the North Charleston Visitors Center and at the Tanger Outlets. Total trip time from the airport to downtown is usually 25–35 minutes. As of 2014, a one-way fare is $3.00.
- CARTA Route 11 is a local service that connects the airport to downtown Charleston with several stops along Dorchester Road and Meeting Street in North Charleston. Total trip time from the airport to downtown is usually 50–55 minutes. As of 2014, a one-way fare is $1.75
Taxis and shuttles are available from CHS to Charleston and other destinations in the Lowcountry. Fixed rates are set by the Charleston County Aviation Authority for most major destinations.
Accidents and incidents
- On September 11, 1974, Eastern Air Lines Flight 212, a flight originating in Charleston and headed to Chicago with a stopover in Charlotte, crashed on approach in dense fog conditions near Douglas Municipal Airport (now Charlotte/Douglas International Airport). Of the 78 passengers and four crew members aboard the Douglas DC-9 aircraft, 72 were killed.
- "2013 Operations Report".
- "Joint Civilian/Military (Joint-use) Airports". Airport Improvement Program. Federal Aviation Administration. March 6, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
- "Charleston airport surpasses 3 passengers for the first time". Warren L. Wise. Charleston Post & Courier. February 2, 2015. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
- "Airport History". Chs Airport.
- "AirTran pulling out of Charleston". WCSC. October 9, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
- "Charleston airport lands second new airline in a month". Retrieved January 21, 2005.
- "Charleston airport lands second new airline in a month". Retrieved January 22, 2005.
- FAA Airport Master Record for CHS ( PDF), effective December 20, 2007
- "Main Charleston area's airport runway to shut down for reconstruction June 18". Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "Airport History". Chs-airport.com.
- Wiesenthal, Eric (December 26, 1981). "Airport Taking Shape". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Aviation Authority launches renovation timeline website – WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 – Charleston News, Sports, Weather". ABC News 4.
- "RITA | BTS | Transtats". Transtats.bts.gov.
- "Operations Reports". Charleston County Aviation Authority. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
- "ATADS Report". Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
- "First phase of Charleston airport overhaul to be completed by mid-March". Warren L. Wise. Charleston Post & Courier. February 10, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2014.
- South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, official site
- Charleston International Airport, official site
- Charleston Air Force Base, official site
- Anna.aero article, Analysis of airport traffic and serving airlines
- (PDF), effective February 5, 2015
- Resources for this airport: