Charleston International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Charleston International Airport
Charleston International Airport Logo.png
Airport type Public / Military
Owner Charleston County
Joint Base Charleston
Operator Charleston County Aviation Authority
Location North Charleston, S.C. (US)
Elevation AMSL 46 ft / 14 m
Coordinates 32°53′55″N 080°02′26″W / 32.89861°N 80.04056°W / 32.89861; -80.04056
Website Charleston Int'l Airport
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
CHS is located in South Carolina
Location of the Charleston International Airport
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 7,004 2,135 Asphalt
15/33 9,001 2,744 Concrete
Statistics (2016)
Passengers 3,708,133
Aircraft operations
(incl. military)
Source: Charleston Co. Aviation Authority[1]

Charleston International Airport (IATA: CHSICAO: KCHSFAA 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.[2] It is South Carolina's largest and busiest airport; in 2016 the airport served over 3.7 million passengers in its busiest year on record.[3] 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.[4]


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.[5]

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.[4]

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 has seen an 83 percent increase in passenger figures.[6] New service from Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Alaska Airlines along with increased services from the three legacy carriers have contributed to this growth. Today, the airport is the only facility in South Carolina to offer regular flights to all four time zones in the contiguous United States.

Facilities and aircraft[edit]


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, 7,004 ft × 150 ft (2,135 m × 46 m).[7]

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.[1]

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.

Passenger terminal[edit]

Interior of Concourse A

The current airline terminal completed a three-year, $200 million redevelopment project in October 2016 which added five gates and significantly renovated the interior appearance of the facility.[8] The original terminal was built in 1987 and was designed by Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff, Davis & Floyd, Inc., and Lucas & Stubbs.[9][10]

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.[11] 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 is primarily used by Delta Air Lines and Delta Connection, with other airlines occasionally using a gate for overflow. Concourse B contains ten gates and is used by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, American Eagle, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and United Express. Concourse B also contains the international arrivals facility when needed.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


View of the airfield from the passenger terminal
View of Charleston Field, a U.S. Air Force base
Airlines Destinations
Alaska Airlines Seattle–Tacoma
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth
American Eagle Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington–National
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare (begins May 4, 2018)[12]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, New York–JFK
Seasonal: Detroit
Delta Connection Boston (resumes March 3, 2018),[13] New York–LaGuardia
Seasonal: Detroit, New York–JFK
Frontier Airlines Denver (begins February 20, 2018)[14]
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare (begins May 11, 2018),[14] Philadelphia (begins February 20, 2018)[14]
JetBlue Airways Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK, Washington–National
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Houston–Hobby, Nashville
Seasonal: Denver, St. Louis
United Airlines Newark
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Washington–Dulles
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles


Airlines Destinations
Atlas Air Anchorage, Cincinnati, Grottaglie, Nagoya–Centrair, Seattle–Paine, Wichita–McConnell AFB
FedEx Express Memphis, Nashville
FedEx Feeder
operated by Mountain Air Cargo
UPS Airlines
operated by Martinaire
Columbia (SC), Greenville/Spartanburg


Airline market share[edit]

Carrier shares: Jan 2016 - Dec 2016[15]
Carrier Passengers (arriving and departing)
Delta Air Lines
Southwest Airlines
PSA Airlines
ExpressJet (United Express)
Other carriers

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from CHS (May 2016-Apr 2017)[15]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 417,000 Delta
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 217,000 American
3 New York–JFK, New York 166,000 Delta, JetBlue
4 Washington–National, D.C. 140,000 American, JetBlue
5 Baltimore, Maryland 121,000 Southwest
6 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 79,000 United
7 Newark, New Jersey 78,000 United
8 Washington–Dulles, Virginia 77,000 United
9 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 65,000 Southwest
10 Boston, Massachusetts 54,000 Delta, JetBlue

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned) and aircraft operations at CHS, 2003 through 2016[16]
Year Passengers Operations Year Passengers Operations
2003 1,616,255 120,188 2013 2,913,265 104,287
2004 1,828,597 123,689 2014 3,131,072 105,782
2005 2,143,105 120,849 2015 3,415,952 103,602
2006 1,877,631 110,254 2016 3,708,133 107,102
2007 2,275,541 112,229
2008 2,334,219 108,438
2009 2,190,251 98,431
2010 2,021,328 101,982
2011 2,520,829 105,019
2012 2,593,063 105,223

Ground transportation[edit]


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.[17]


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 2017, a one-way fare is $3.50.
  • 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 2017, 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.

Related facilities[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]


  1. ^ a b "2013 Operations Report". 
  2. ^ "Joint Civilian/Military (Joint-use) Airports". Airport Improvement Program. Federal Aviation Administration. March 6, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Charleston airport saw record 3.7M passengers in 2016, could see 4M this year". Post and Courier. January 19, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "Airport History". Chs Airport. 
  6. ^ "Charleston airport saw record 3.7M passengers in 2016, could see 4M this year". Post and Courier. January 19, 2016. Retrieved January 27, 2017. 
  7. ^ FAA Airport Master Record for CHS (Form 5010 PDF), effective December 20, 2007
  8. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "Airport History". 
  10. ^ Wiesenthal, Eric (December 26, 1981). "Airport Taking Shape". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Consolidated TSA checkpoint opens April 15". Retrieved April 28, 2015. 
  12. ^ "American Airlines adds service to five new markets out of Chicago". Retrieved 28 November 2017. 
  13. ^ "Delta schedules additional Saturday-only service from Boston in W17". RoutesOnline. Retrieved July 23, 2017. 
  14. ^ a b c
  15. ^ a b "RITA | BTS | Transtats". 
  16. ^ "Charleston International Airport - Operations Reports". 
  17. ^ "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. 

External links[edit]