ONE-ON-ONE: CAE encourages Midlands residents to fly local this holiday season

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — According to AAA, this holiday season is set to be the third busiest on record with more than 100 million Americans expected to travel away from home.

Here in the Midlands, tens of thousands are expected to fly through Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). CAE estimates that 90,000 travelers flew from the airport in November and expects similar numbers for December. 

“If you haven’t traveled through the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, you’re in for a treat,” said Kim Crafton, director of marketing at CAE. “This is a very easy airport to travel through. We try to make it an easy experience from start to finish. Please know that this is not the airport of years past. There are a lot of travelers that come through this airport.”

CAE is working to streamline the check-in airport so it’s easier for passengers to get through the airport. There are also other things you can do to speed up the process.

“Make sure that you pre-book your parking. That’s one thing we have installed here at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport,” Crafton said. “You’re able to get a discount on extended stay parking. Check that out at our website.”

The airport has enjoyed larger crowds than the past couple of years, but things are not completely back to normal yet. 

“We are not back to pre-pandemic numbers but we are inching closer month by month,” Crafton said. “We are looking at mid-year next year to be back to pre-pandemic numbers.”

The impact of the pandemic is still being felt by the industry. Expedia reports a 40 percent increase in airline ticket prices compared to last year. 

“There are still a lot of residual effects from the pandemic including pilot shortages and high fuel costs,” the marketing director said. “There’s a lot of things happening behind the scenes at airlines and unfortunately those expenses are being passed to the traveler.” 

However if you are flying this holiday season, Crafton urges you to look at traveling out of CAE. 

“We encourage our local community to utilize this airport. Don’t use other airports or drive out of state,” she advises. “Keep those dollars here in South Carolina by supporting local. The more people that fly out of this airport… the more that airlines will look at adding additional service.”

You can find out more here.

Categories: Local News, Richland