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Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Airport Traffic

Mar 06, 2024 10:10AM ● By Donna Walker

Columbia, S.C., Airport Welcomed Over 1.2 Million Passengers in 2023

Columbia Metropolitan Airport officials said the airport welcomed 1,234,487 million passengers in 2023 – inching closer to the highest number of passengers in over a decade that was reached in 2019.

 

“Seeing a continuous increase of passenger traffic through the airport is going to be the ultimate indicator of the always forward, positive momentum we’re looking to maintain here at CAE,” said President and CEO Mike Gula. “The number of individuals that choose to utilize our airport has a significant impact on our overall sustainability and future success.”

 

With a 16 percent increase over 2022’s passenger traffic, which saw 1,063,630 passengers, the noteworthy increase CAE saw in 2023 was due in part to the addition of numerous routes and service on both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, officials said.

 

Last summer, American Airlines (AA) added a nonstop route from CAE to Chicago – a first for AA in the Columbia market.

 

Additionally, AA added a nonstop flight from CAE to New York City (LaGuardia) as well as brought back its seasonal service from CAE to Miami. Delta Air Lines added a second nonstop flight from CAE to New York City (LaGuardia) – offering a morning and evening option to passengers.

 

To further accommodate and enhance travelers’ experience, CAE, in partnership with its concessionaires, updated a number of food, beverage and retail spaces throughout the airport.

 

Last year, Samuel Adam’s Columbia Brewhouse, Jimmy John’s and Dunkin’ were added to the food court, replacing some longtime establishments, making way for national brands.

 

For retail, a multi-phased effort started to renovate all three shops across the airport.

 

The new locations, Three Rivers Collection, Vista Trading (now open) and Explore Columbia will all be completed by winter 2024.

 

In the main lobby, Avanti Market vending machines were installed – offering grab-n-go snacks and travel essentials to passengers and the general public.

 

Officials said important work on an airport master plan started in the summer of 2023 will provide an introspective look at the airport’s current facilities, amenities, capacity and more to determine how it can better meet the needs of travelers for the next 20 years.

 

More information about the CAE Airport Master Plan can be found on the airport’s website.

Blackbaud to Repurchase 7 Percent to 10 Percent of Outstanding Shares Under $500 Million Stock Repurchase Program

Blackbaud (NASDAQ: BLKB), a provider of software for powering social impact, said March 4, 2024, it intends to repurchase 7 percent to 10 percent of the company's common stock through the end of 2024.

 

Officials said the repurchases will be made through a combination of accelerated share repurchase plans, block trades, and open market purchases as part of the company's previously announced $500 million share repurchase authorization.

 

Consistent with the commitment, the Charleston, South Carolina-based company has entered into an Accelerated Share Repurchase ("ASR") agreement with Bank of America, N.A., to repurchase $200 million of the company's common stock.

 

Since December 2023, the company has repurchased approximately $77 million of Blackbaud common stock, excluding the ASR announced March 4, 2024.

 

Of the $77 million, $41 million was repurchased prior to the expansion and replenishment of the board authorization on Jan. 17, with the remaining $36 million counting against the current $500 million authorization.

 

"Our five-point operating plan is driving meaningful improvements in our operating and financial results and fueling significant free cash flow,” said Mike Gianoni, president, Blackbaud’s CEO and vice chairman of the board. 

 

Gianoni added, “The execution on our increased share repurchase authorization reflects our confidence in Blackbaud and upside value creation ahead. We believe our stock is undervalued and does not represent Blackbaud's significant market opportunities. We are excited about Blackbaud's long-term growth prospects and committed to enhancing shareholder value."

 

Officials said the ASR and subsequent repurchases under the $500 million stock repurchase authorization will be funded through cash on hand, operating cash flow, and to the extent needed, borrowings under the company's existing credit facility.

 

In connection with the company's participation at investor conferences on March 4 and 5, presentation materials have been posted to Blackbaud's investor webpage and filed as a Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

The associated webcasts can also be accessed on the investor relations section of Blackbaud's website.

 

Blackbaud's software is built to accelerate impact in fundraising, nonprofit financial management, digital giving, grantmaking, corporate social responsibility and education management.

 

With millions of users and over $100 billion raised, granted or managed through Blackbaud platforms every year, officials said Blackbaud's solutions are unleashing the potential of the people and organizations who change the world.

 

Blackbaud has been named to Newsweek's list of America's Most Responsible Companies, Quartz's list of Best Companies for Remote Workers, and Forbes' list of America's Best Employers.

 

A remote-first company, Blackbaud has operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica and the United Kingdom, supporting users in 100+ countries.

Old Dominion Freight Line Provides Update for First Quarter 2024

Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (Nasdaq: ODFL) on March 5, 2024, reported certain less-than-truckload (“LTL”) operating metrics for February 2024.

 

Revenue per day increased 1.2 percent as compared to February 2023 due to an increase in LTL revenue per hundredweight that was slightly offset by a 3.0 percent decrease in LTL tons per day.

 

Officials said the change in LTL tons per day was attributable to a 3.2 percent decrease in LTL weight per shipment that was partially offset by a 0.2 percent increase in LTL shipments per day.

 

For the quarter-to-date period, LTL revenue per hundredweight and LTL revenue per hundredweight, excluding fuel surcharges, increased 3.7 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively, as compared to the same period last year.

 

Marty Freeman, president and chief executive officer of Old Dominion, said, “Our revenue results turned slightly positive in February but continue to reflect softness in the domestic economy. Our LTL shipments per day also increased slightly as compared to February 2023 while our yield metrics continued to improve.”

 

Freeman added, “The increase in our LTL revenue per hundredweight was supported by a favorable pricing environment and our ongoing ability to deliver superior service at a fair price. We believe our value proposition is unmatched in the marketplace, which provides us with a tremendous opportunity to win market share and produce strong profitable growth once the macroeconomic environment begins to improve.”

 

Old Dominion Freight Line's Charleston service center serves shippers in the Southern Region of coastal South Carolina, including Wando, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, Ridgeville, Johns Island, Awendaw, Jamestown, Moncks Corner, and Andrews.

 

Old Dominion's CHS facility offers container drayage services from the Port of Charleston.

Partnership Grand Strand Selected for National Workforce Training Program

The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) has selected Partnership Grand Strand (PGS), the nonprofit foundation of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, as one of 10 organizations to participate in a national workforce training program called the Equitable Credential Attainment Cohort. 

 

The program strives to strengthen partnerships between chambers of commerce, community colleges and local organizations within a region to increase the number of diverse adult learners who earn an industry-recognized credential or degree.

 

Through a grant provided by the Lumina Foundation, PGS will team up with Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) and Palmetto Goodwill to jointly participate in the cohort to enhance credential and degree attainment within the Grand Strand. 

 

“Strong, cross-sector partnerships are crucial to addressing workforce challenges, building resilient local economies and creating opportunities for everyone to thrive,” said ACCE President and CEO Sheree Anne Kelly. 

 

Officials said the program will provide access to national subject matter experts, customized technical assistance and peer-to-peer learning activities. For more information, go to EquitableCredentials.com.

 

Partnership Grand Strand is a 501c3 foundation launched in 2022 by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to fund a five-year community development initiative.

 

Through investments from local businesses and partnerships with community organizations, the foundation leads and supports efforts related to four pillars of success: prosperity, talent, place and infrastructure.

 

Through focused endeavors, Partnership Grand Strand works to enhance quality of life across Horry and Georgetown counties. PartnershipGrandStrand.com.

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