2016 was the third consecutive year of record passenger utilization at AVL

Asheville, N.C. – Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is reporting the highest number of annual passengers in its 56-year history, with enplanements up 5.6% (414,606) and deplanements up 4.5% (412,042), for a total of 826,648 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2016.  This is a five percent increase over the previous record year, set in 2015, and sustains AVL as the fourth largest commercial service airport in North Carolina.

By the numbers:

Year

Enplanements

Deplanements

Total Passengers

2016

414,606

412,042

826,648

2015

392,762

394,373

787,135

“We have experienced three consecutive years of record-breaking growth,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., AVL Executive Director.  “We have excellent air service available, provided by four airline partners, and travelers are choosing to fly from AVL.  The strong numbers are a reflection of the airlines’ success, our region’s economic strength, as well as the vibrancy of WNC as a tourism destination. I would like to personally thank our local travelers for their patronage and loyalty to our region’s airport.”

“The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority (GARAA) Board continues to focus on air service, infrastructure needs and development at the airport to best serve Western North Carolina,” said Bob Roberts, GARAA Board Chairman.  “And it is very positive to see continued strong utilization of our local airport.  The board will continue to stay focused on our mission to provide an exceptional airport experience.”

All four airlines at AVL – American, Allegiant, Delta and United – saw annual growth in passengers.  The largest growth in enplanements by percentage was experienced by Allegiant (12.5%) and United (8.5%), due to additional routes and increased frequencies to existing routes.  Specifically, Allegiant added less-than-daily non-stop service to three new destinations in 2016:  Jacksonville, Fla. (summer seasonal); Washington, D.C. via Baltimore/ Washington International (seasonal); and New York City via Newark Liberty International.  United increased flights and frequency of service to Chicago during peak travel times.  American and Delta both experienced growth, as well.

In response to recent growth trends, the airport is constructing a new five-story parking garage, slated for completion later this year.

“We are ready for continued growth, and look forward to a strong 2017,” said Bleiweis.  “We encourage our local travelers to continue to check AVL first for their travel needs, and we look forward to welcoming them to the airport soon.”

# # # #

The most recent economic impact study conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation showed that AVL contributes more than half a billion dollars annually to the local economy, and generates more than 1,700 jobs.  This economic impact will continue to grow as the airport grows.