Travelers in the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport soon will be able to buy alcoholic drinks on Sunday.
Legislation allowing the Sunday alcohol sales at GSP as well as other locations has been signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley, putting GSP on the same footing as the state’s other major commercial airports.
An amendment to House Bill 3295 allows the airport restaurant vendor to purchase a temporary permit to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premise consumption on Sundays for up to a year.
Chris Langston, general manager for MSE Branded Foods’ GSP operations, said the legislation is effective July 1 and the process of obtaining the permit will begin immediately after that. He said he didn’t know how long it would take.
“We have a constant barrage of people asking for a drink,” he said. “They look at you funny when you say you can’t serve them on Sunday.”
GSP was the only internationally designated airport not permitted to sell alcohol on Sunday, said Dave Edwards, GSP president and chief executive. The other airports — Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach — are in areas that allowed Sunday alcohol sales.
Edwards said he’s also heard that demand for the service was there among passengers.
“We have a large international base of travelers,” who often expect to be able to buy adult drinks,” he said. “It’s been requested by our passenger base here at the airport.”
He said he has not heard of any opposition to the permit.
When the airport initially began trying to gain the ability to serve alcohol on Sunday, it was planned as an amendment to Title 55, the legislation that created the airport commission and that governs the state’s commercial airports. When it became apparent that Title 55 would not be considered by the Legislature this year, the amendment was added to legislation dealing with alcohol permits.
GSP could not have gotten this bill passed without the strong legislative support of Reps. Eddie Tallon and Bruce Bannister and Sen. Harvey Peeler, Edwards said.