S.C.’s largest airports rank high in MIT connectivity study

Staff Report
Published July 25, 2013

An MIT air transportation study of airports found that Charleston International Airport had the seventh-highest connectivity in the U.S. among small hub airports.

Aside from Myrtle Beach International Airport, all of South Carolina’s larger airports ranked above 50 in 2012 for a connectivity score that measured the quality of connections available at the nation’s airports. Researchers at MIT’s International Center for Air Transportation considered a score of 50 to 150 to be good connectivity.

S.C. airports and connectivity 2012

The MIT International Center for Air Transportation looked at connectivity among the nation’s 462 airports. Researchers used a formula to come up with a connectivity score because there are no standards for evaluating the quality of air transportation connections.

Charleston International
Greenville-Spartanburg International
Columbia Metropolitan
Myrtle Beach International



Source: Modeling Changes in Connectivity at U.S. Airports

The MIT researchers said there is no industry-standard metric to assess an airport’s connection to the global air transportation system. All of South Carolina’s airports are considered “small hub” or “non-hub” size, using FAA designations for number of enplanements. Small hub airports enplane about 5% of the number of passengers as “large hub” airports, for example.

The study’s Airport Connectivity Quality Index measured frequency of available scheduled flights, the quantity and quality of destinations served, and the quantity and quality of connecting destinations.

“While air connectivity is important for communities of all sizes, research has suggested that small communities can obtain significant economic benefits from well-connected commercial air service,” the researchers wrote.

In South Carolina, Charleston International also scored highest in the state for connectivity, followed by Greenville and Columbia.

Columbia Metropolitan Airport plays a vital role in our local economy and it’s our ability to connect businesses, their products and their personnel to the world that enables us to make such a positive impact on the Midlands,” said Columbia Metro Executive Director Dan Mann in a news release. “We’re proud of the connectivity that CAE offers the Columbia market and we’re pleased to have our air service so highly ranked.”

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