By Nicole Johnson
WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) – As PGA golfers, teams, and fans across the country grab their clubs and head to Kiawah Island for the 2012 Championship, the City of Walterboro says fly into their city.
“You’re talking about the PGA Championship, the volume is triple the normal tour event, corporate alone before you get to fans. We wanted to get the word out there that this resource is available,” Walterboro Economic Development Coordinator Hank Amundson said.
The Lowcountry Regional Airport is just 50 miles from Kiawah Island, there are three runways, and a jet fueling station. City officials say light traffic in or out of the city is a huge convenience factor for private air travelers.
“These types of places can be easy in and easy out instead of having to go through airport terminals and crazy security checks. These sponsors for big events or for the players, that’s a major value add to their trip,” Amundson said.
The city also hopes the convenience and privacy of the airport will attract visitors and boost their business downtown. Right now the city is working on its red rocking chair campaign to let people know “Walterboro Rocks.” The mayor says this area is the front porch Lowcountry.
“It’s become a real stopping point for people on I-95 to come in and shop the antiques and to eat in our restaurants and shop the local boutiques and shops,” Mayor Bill Young said.
The Walterboro airport is just one mile from the historic district and four miles from Interstate 95. The city says it is the largest general aviation airport in the state and can accommodate a jet as big as the Boeing 737.
The airport does not charge for planes to park on the tarmac, and the city says jet fuel at the airport is $1.50 cheaper than nearby airports on average.
The airport is an uncontrolled field, but airport officials say pilots can radio in to find out traffic and weather information. They say they work in partnership with Charleston International Airport and safety landing systems are in place.