Charleston International Airport

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charleston International Airport
Baggage claim in terminal
Airport typePublic / military
OwnerCharleston County
Joint Base Charleston
OperatorCharleston County Aviation Authority
LocationNorth Charleston, S.C. (US)
Operating base forBreeze Airways
Elevation AMSL46 ft / 14 m
Coordinates32°53′55″N 080°02′26″W / 32.89861°N 80.04056°W / 32.89861; -80.04056
FAA diagram as of January 2021
FAA diagram as of January 2021
Direction Length Surface
ft m
03/21 7,000 2,134 Concrete
15/33 9,001 2,744 Concrete
Statistics (2023)
Total passengers6,153,540
Aircraft operations122,653
Source: Charleston Co. Aviation Authority,[1] Federal Aviation Administration[2]

Charleston International Airport (IATA: CHS, ICAO: KCHS, FAA LID: CHS) is a joint civil-military airport located in North Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The airport is operated by the Charleston County Aviation Authority under a joint-use agreement with Joint Base Charleston.[3] It is South Carolina's busiest airport; in 2023 the airport served over 6.1 million passengers in its busiest year on record.[4] The airport is located in North Charleston and is approximately 12 miles (19 km) northwest of downtown Charleston. The airport serves as a focus city for Breeze Airways. It is also home to the Boeing facility that assembles the 787 Dreamliner.[5]


In 1928, the Charleston Airport Corporation was founded and purchased 700 acres (280 ha) 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.[6]

View of Charleston Field, a U.S. Air Force base

In October 2009, Boeing announced that it would build a major plant on 265 acres (107 ha) 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.[5]

Since 2010, the airport's passenger figures have doubled.[7] New services established by additional airlines during this time along with increased services from the three legacy carriers have contributed to this growth.[citation needed]

In 2021, the newly established Breeze Airways announced that the airport would serve as a focus city for the airline and announced service to 11 cities.[citation needed] In 2022, the airport authority announced a 20-year master plan for future growth of the airport, including the constructing of an additional concourse, adding up to 11 new gates, providing additional plane stands, and expanding parking facilities for vehicles.[8]

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. In April 2019, British Airways launched a seasonal route to London's Heathrow Airport using a Boeing 787. This was Charleston's first scheduled transatlantic flight. The first season ended in October.[9][10] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service never returned.[11] In 2023, Air Canada announced a return to Charleston with daily nonstop flights to Toronto beginning in March 2024. [12]|[13]


View of the airfield from the passenger terminal

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).[2][14]

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.[2][1] In May 2019, there were 81 aircraft based at this airport: 28 single-engine, 6 multi-engine, 43 jet, and 4 helicopter.[2]

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.


Interior of Concourse A

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.[15] The original terminal was built in 1985 and was designed by Howard Needles Tammen & Bergendoff, Davis & Floyd, Inc., and Lucas & Stubbs.[16][17]

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.[18] 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 eight gates (A1, A2, A2A, and A3-A7) 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 (B1-B10) and is used by other airlines serving the airport. Concourse B also contains the international arrivals facility.

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 offers 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.[19]

CARTA, the regional mass transit system, serves the airport with one bus route that operates seven days a week.

  • 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.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson (begins March 28, 2024)[20][13]
Alaska Airlines Seattle/Tacoma [21]
Allegiant Air Cincinnati
Seasonal: Columbus–Rickenbacker, Indianapolis, Louisville, Pittsburgh
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia
Seasonal: Miami, Washington–National
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington–National [23]
Avelo Airlines Seasonal: New Haven (CT) [24]
Breeze Airways Akron/Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus–Glenn, Fort Myers, Hartford, Long Island/Islip, Louisville, New Orleans, Norfolk, Orlando, Phoenix–Sky Harbor (ends May 25, 2024),[25] Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Providence, Richmond, Syracuse, Tampa, White Plains
Seasonal: Los Angeles (resumes May 3, 2024),[26] Manchester (NH) (begins June 14, 2024),[27] Newburgh, West Palm Beach
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Boston, New York–LaGuardia
Seasonal: Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Boston, New York–JFK, New York–LaGuardia [29]
Frontier Airlines Cleveland (begins May 17, 2024)[30]
Seasonal: Philadelphia
JetBlue Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK
Seasonal: White Plains
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Nashville
Seasonal: Austin, Denver, Houston–Hobby, St. Louis
Spirit Airlines Boston (begins April 5, 2024),[34] Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas,[35] Newark, New York–LaGuardia (begins April 10, 2024)[36]
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Tampa
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Newark, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Houston–Intercontinental
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, Washington–Dulles [39]


Atlas Air[40] Anchorage, Everett, Miami, Taranto, Wichita–McConnell AFB
FedEx Express Greensboro, Memphis, Nashville
FedEx Feeder Memphis
Western Global Airlines Fort Myers


Airline market share[edit]

Largest airlines at CHS
(January 2022 – December 2022)
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Delta Air Lines 941,000 18.08%
2 American Airlines 833,000 16.01%
3 Southwest Airlines 814,000 15.65%
4 JetBlue 518,000 9.96%
5 United Airlines 499,000 9.60%
6 Other 1,650,000 32.02%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from CHS (January – December 2022)[41]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 404,370 Delta
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 252,550 American
3 New York–JFK, New York 149,430 Delta, JetBlue
4 New York–LaGuardia, New York 135,840 Delta, JetBlue
5 Newark, New Jersey 126,580 JetBlue, Spirit, United
6 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 122,160 American
7 Baltimore, Maryland 121,410 Southwest
8 Washington–National, District of Columbia 112,870 American
9 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 105,540 American, United
10 Boston, Massachusetts 86,180 Delta, JetBlue

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at CHS, 2003 to present[42]
Year Passengers Year Passengers
2003 1,616,255 2013 2,913,265
2004 1,828,597 2014 3,131,072
2005 2,143,105 2015 3,415,952
2006 1,877,631 2016 3,708,133
2007 2,275,541 2017 3,987,427
2008 2,334,219 2018 4,470,239
2009 2,190,251 2019 4,871,062
2010 2,021,328 2020 1,952,271
2011 2,520,829 2021 4,181,588
2012 2,593,063 2022 5,322,147

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • December 31, 1946: A Douglas C-47 operated by Inter Continental Air Transport crashed after a missed first approach. He attempted to remain visual while flying below a 500-foot (150 m) ragged ceiling. Flying over dark, heavily wooded terrain, the left wing struck treetops, lost control and crashed 3.1 miles (5.0 km) NW of Charleston. All five occupants (three crew, two passengers) perished.[43]
  • March 14, 1947: a Douglas DC-3 operated by US Airlines approached Charleston low and left of the runway, struck trees 3,800 feet (1,200 m) from the runway, crashed and burned. Both occupants were killed.[44]
  • August 23, 1955: A USAF Kaiser-Frazer Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar impacted a tree and crashed after a takeoff for a night flight in a residential area, 1.7 miles (2.7 km) SE of Charleston AFB. A fire erupted, destroying several homes. Reports said one engine was on fire when the crash occurred. Five of the 11 occupants on the aircraft were killed and four on the ground died.[45]
  • October 3, 1956: A USAF Douglas C-124 Globemaster II crashed on approach 0.9 miles (1.4 km) NW of Charleston AFB when the pilot descended below minumums, struck trees and crashed. Three of the 10 on board were killed.[46]
  • September 18, 1979: A USAF Lockheed C-141 Starlifter caught fire after touchdown at CHS when the landing gear retracted along with several other mechanical issues occurring at once. The aircraft was destroyed, but there were no fatalities.[47]
  • November 2, 2020: Joel T. Drogomir was arrested on a charge "conveying false information regarding attempted use of a destructive device" after he falsely threatened to have a bomb.[48][49][50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jacquot, Bryce (January 18, 2024). "Charleston International Airport sets new record with over 6 million travelers in 2023". ABC News 4.
  2. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for CHS PDF, effective December 7, 2017.
  3. ^ "Joint Civilian/Military (Joint-use) Airports". Airport Improvement Program. Federal Aviation Administration. March 6, 2002. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  4. ^ "Charleston International Airport sets new record with over 6 million travelers in 2023". WCIV. January 18, 2024. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  5. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Airport History". Chs Airport.
  7. ^ "Charleston Airport saw nearly 500,000 additional passengers in 2018". Post & Courier. January 31, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  8. ^ "Long-term expansion plan revealed for Charleston International Airport". MSN. October 21, 2022.
  9. ^ Liu, Jim (October 19, 2018). "British Airways adds Charleston SC service in S19". Routesonline. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "British Airways to Continue Charleston to London Service in 2020". Charleston County Economic Development Department. October 4, 2019. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  11. ^ Williams, Emily (December 16, 2020). "Charleston's British Airways flight won't return next summer due to pandemic". The Post and Courier. Retrieved August 13, 2023.
  12. ^ "Air Canada Will Have 52 US Destinations With The Addition Of Charleston". Simple Flying. September 29, 2023. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "Flight Schedules".
  14. ^ "CHS airport data at". Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  15. ^ "$200M Charleston airport renovation wraps up".
  16. ^ "Airport History".
  17. ^ Wiesenthal, Eric (December 26, 1981). "Airport Taking Shape". The Post and Courier. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  18. ^ "Consolidated TSA checkpoint opens April 15". Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "Air Canada Will Have 52 US Destinations With The Addition Of Charleston". Simple Flying. September 29, 2023. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  21. ^ Airlines, Alaska. "Flight Timetable". Alaska Airlines. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  22. ^ "Allegiant Interactive Route Map". Retrieved October 17, 2020.
  23. ^ a b "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  24. ^ "Destinations". Avelo Airlines. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  25. ^ "Breeze Airways Late-May 2024 Network Changes". Aeroroutes. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  26. ^ "Breeze Airlines bringing back nonstop service from Charleston to LAX". Live 5 News. January 9, 2024. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  27. ^ "Breeze Airways now offering nonstop flights from Manchester to Orlando, Charleston, and Fort Myers". Manchester Ink Link. February 15, 2024. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  28. ^ "Explore Breeze Airways destinations". Breeze Airways. Retrieved January 9, 2024.
  29. ^ a b "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  30. ^ "Frontier Airlines Announces Nonstop Service from CLE to 10 Additional Destinations; Summer Daily Departures to Increase 38% Versus a Year Ago".
  31. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  32. ^ "JetBlue".
  33. ^ "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  34. ^ "Spirit Airlines April 2024 Network Additions – 16OCT23". Aeroroutes. Retrieved October 17, 2023.
  35. ^ "Spirit adds Las Vegas to Charleston, S.C. Nonstop flights in September | Tourism | Business". April 6, 2023.
  36. ^ "Spirit Airlines Spring 2024 Domestic Routes Addition Summary – 21JAN24". Aeroroutes. Retrieved January 23, 2024.
  37. ^ "Spirit Airlines Launches Charleston SC Service From April 2023". Aeroroutes. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  38. ^[bare URL]
  39. ^ a b "Timetable". Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  40. ^ "Atlas Air Schedule". Atlas Air. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  41. ^ a b "RITA | BTS | Transtats - CHS". Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  42. ^ "Charleston International Airport - Operations Reports".
  43. ^ Accident description for NC88873 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 30, 2020.
  44. ^ Accident description for NC88804 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 30, 2020.
  45. ^ Accident description for 51-8165 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 30, 2020.
  46. ^ Accident description for 53-0033 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 30, 2020.
  47. ^ Accident description for 64-0647 at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on October 30, 2020.
  48. ^ Smith, Fleming (November 24, 2020). "Charleston man who falsely claimed having bomb at airport released with slew of conditions". Post and Courier. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  49. ^ "Man charged in airport bomb scare had razor blade in his shoe, Unabomber manifesto". WCBD News 2. December 9, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  50. ^ Bean, Riley (December 9, 2020). "Suspect in airport bomb scare goes to court".

External links[edit]