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GSP’s Growth Benefits the Upstate

October 1, 2018

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) truly exemplifies the regional collaboration that can be found in the Upstate. The airport’s story is a strong testament to the “can-do” attitude that defines #TeamUpstate, and one of the reasons that business moves here. 
GSP opened in 1962 after business leaders in the region set out to establish a regional airport. They chose a location, developed plans with aviation consultants and earned support from the community and elected officials.  
Today, GSP has more than 2.2 million passengers a year, and it is a growing hub for air cargo, including goods and parts regularly flown to and from Europe and Mexico. The S.C. Aeronautics Commission estimates the airport’s economic impact at more than $1.2 billion.  
“I often say that an airport is as healthy as its community,” says Dave Edwards, president and CEO of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport District. “It’s clear that the Upstate is a vibrant region, and airlines, manufacturers and those transporting their products are taking notice.”

Dave Edwards GSP Pull Quote

GSP celebrated the completion of a $127 million terminal renovation in 2017 that gives the airport the ability to accommodate 4 million passengers a year by 2035. The renovation had an estimated $164 million economic impact on the Upstate.
During the course of GSP’s history, the airport has aimed to provide a level of air service that enables the Upstate to grow. This has involved GSP helping to lure industry to the Upstate since the 1960s with German-based Hoechst establishing a plant in Spartanburg — the plant is still operational today as Auriga Polymers, Inc., and last year celebrated 50 years of manufacturing
The airport also played a role in making the Upstate appealing to BMW in the 1990s. 
GSP’s cargo operations are growing at a fast pace. In fiscal year 2018, Cerulean Commercial Aviation supported more than 1,200 cargo flights. GSP’s cargo numbers increased nearly 39 percent between 2016 and 2017, and the airport moved from No. 84 to No. 72 on a Federal Aviation Administration list ranking airport cargo data. 
That growth took place with the airport only being able to accommodate one Boeing 747-800 aircraft on the GSP cargo apron. In 2019, the airport will celebrate the opening of $30 million cargo facilities that will include a 110,000-square-foot warehouse and a 13-acre cargo apron that will be able to accommodate three Boeing 747-800 aircraft simultaneously. 

GSP Cargo increased 39%25 from 2016-2017

Some of the cargo passing through GSP consists of automobiles, automotive parts and healthcare equipment. The airport was part of the world’s largest commercial equine airlift while serving as an entry point for more than 550 horses competing in the 2018 World Equestrian Games in Tryon, N.C. 
GSP welcomed its sixth airline in 2018 and passenger growth is on a steady increase at the airport. In October 2017, GSP recorded more than 215,300 passengers. It was the first time the airport’s total passenger count exceeded 200,000 in a single month. 
The airport plays a vital role in not only helping passengers achieve their travel dreams, but supporting business growth that creates opportunity for all. We’re glad they’re on #TeamUpstate. 

Air cargo photograph provided by GSP International Airport. 
TOPICS: Logistics, #TeamUpstate, Business, Global Competitiveness