AVL Runway Reopens After Brief Closure

The Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) runway reopened after a short closure due to a minor aircraft incident.

At 3:03pm on Thursday, May 24, 2012, the Asheville Regional Airport Authority Department of Public Safety (DPS) responded to a call regarding a hard landing on the runway by a helicopter. Two people were on board, and no injuries were reported.

The disabled helicopter was in the safety zone of the runway, which could not be reopened until the helicopter was removed, per Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

The runway reopened at 4:23pm. One flight was cancelled, and one was diverted.


AVL Public Safety Conducts Training Exercise

The Department of Public Safety (DPS) at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) will conduct a full-scale safety training exercise May 10 on the airport campus.

The training is part of an Airport Emergency Plan (AEP), which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and serves to train a number of emergency services departments for disaster response at AVL, from planning and communication to response and triage.

"Our first priority is passenger safety, and the purpose of this practice is to continue our training and to work with our mutual aid partners from both Henderson and Buncombe Counties," said Public Safety Chief Jeff Augram.

The exercise, which is conducted once every three years, affords Mission, Pardee, and Park Ridge Hospitals an opportunity to exercise their plans and includes fire, EMS, and law enforcement, and personnel from the Asheville Regional Airport, Henderson County, the City of Asheville, and Buncombe County.


Food and beverage concierge service now offered at Asheville Regional Airport

Asheville, NC — The Blue Ridge Tavern, the restaurant at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), is now offering a new concierge service for airline passengers designed to simplify the travel experience. Travelers may now call the Blue Ridge Tavern prior to departure, place a meal order, pre-pay with a credit card, and choose to have the order waiting at the Tavern for pick up, at the gate, or even on the plane (as airlines permit).


“The Blue Ridge Tavern is the first of its kind — an airport restaurant with a huge local influence, farm-to-table fare, and a laser-focus on customer service,” said Todd Levick, general manager. “We know how easy the travel experience can be from Asheville Regional Airport, and we want to make that experience even better. So, we’ve designed this concierge program to provide first class service for around $10.”


“The airport is pleased to have a food and beverage partner with a clear focus on passengers and their experiences,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., airport director. “This new concierge program is a positive addition to the customer service amenities at Asheville Regional Airport.”


To participate in the program, passengers may call the Blue Ridge Tavern at 828-654-6215, or visit the airport’s dining page for full details, and to view the Blue Ridge Tavern menu.


New Non-stop service to Orlando on Allegiant

ASHEVILLE TAKES OFF TO FUN AND AMUSEMENT

ALLEGIANT ANNOUNCES NONSTOP, LOW-COST TRAVEL SERVICE BETWEEN ASHEVILLE AND ORLANDO WITH INTRODUCTORY $49.98* FARES

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) today announces new, nonstop jet service between Asheville, N.C., and Orlando, Fla., via Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), will begin Nov. 18. The company, known for its exceptional travel deals, will introduce the new service to Western North Carolina area residents with fares as low as $49.98* one way.

“We’re pleased to bring an affordable and convenient travel option to Asheville,” Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant Travel Company President, said. “We are confident Western North Carolina will appreciate flying nonstop to Orlando and take advantage of the great deals we offer on hotels, car rentals and theme park tickets.”

“Asheville Regional Airport is proud to partner with Allegiant Travel Company, and looks forward to welcoming them to Western North Carolina,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., airport director. “Allegiant is a quality airline with great fares, and we know that our air travelers will welcome them with open arms. We have received many requests in recent years to advocate for Allegiant to come to our airport, and I am pleased to say that the time has come. It will be a great sight when the first Allegiant jet lands at AVL – a plane that will seat 150 people – and an even greater sight of our friends and neighbors enjoying the non-stop, low-fare flights to Orlando Sanford International Airport.”

The new flights will operate two times weekly between Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) with service Monday and Friday. Flights will depart Asheville at 8:20 p.m. arriving in Orlando-Sanford at 9:50 p.m. Flights leaving Orlando-Sanford will depart at 6:10 p.m. arriving in Asheville at 7:40 p.m. (all flight times are local). The carrier will utilize a full-size, 150-seat MD-80 jet aircraft on the route.

With plenty of shopping, dining, outdoor activities and entertainment, Orlando offers vacationers the perfect getaway. Located in the heart of Central Florida, Orlando is home to the world’s most exciting theme parks including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Orlando’s famous International Drive is more than 10 miles long and features more than 100 hotels, 450 stores, several attractions and two major outlet malls. Orlando is also home to more than 175 golf courses, many of which were designed by pro golfers such as Greg Norman, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Allegiant’s $49.98* one-way introductory fare is limited, must be purchased by Oct. 3, 2011, and is valid for travel between Nov. 29, 2011, and Feb. 14, 2012. Introductory fares are not available on all flights.

Reservations can be made on the airline’s website at www.allegiant.com or by calling the company’s travel experts at 702-505-8888. Allegiant guarantees the lowest price on air and hotel vacation packages through the company’s Low-Price Pledge. If the customer finds an air and hotel package for less, Allegiant will credit the difference for use on a future booking. Allegiant is also rewarding customers who book an air and hotel package through the company with an instant $20 savings on roundtrip airfare, making it even more affordable to book an air and hotel package.

About the $49.98* one-way fare:
Seats are limited. Fares are one-way and not available on all flights. Must be purchased by Oct. 3, 2011, for travel by Feb. 14, 2012. Offer not available Dec. 24, 2011–Jan. 4, 2012. Prices do not include PFC, segment tax or Sept. 11th security fee of up to $10.70 per segment. A segment is one take-off and one landing. A fee of $14.99 per segment, will apply when purchased through Allegiant call centers. For ticket counter hours of operation, please visit www.allegiant.com. When purchased at the time of booking, a checked bag fee of up to $14.99 per bag will apply per person, per segment. If purchased at flight check-in, a fee of $35 per checked bag, per person, per segment will apply for the first two bags checked. Additional higher fees will apply for three or more checked bags. Fare rules, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice. Restrictions apply. $20 savings based on a two-night, air+hotel purchase; valid at select Allegiant hotels.

Allegiant, travel is our deal.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company (NASDAQ: ALGT) is focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix-Mesa, Orlando, Fla., and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. Through its subsidiary, Allegiant Air, the company operates a low-cost, high-efficiency, all-jet passenger airline offering air travel both on a stand-alone basis and bundled with hotel rooms, rental cars and other travel-related services. In 2010, Allegiant was ranked number one for low-cost carriers in Aviation Week’s Top Performing Airline study and ranked 25 on FORTUNE magazine’s Fastest-Growing Companies list. Receive breaking news from Allegiant by visiting Allegiant’s Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/Allegiant or follow Allegiant on Twitter at twitter.com/allegianttravel.
 


Vision Airlines Discontinues Service at AVL

Asheville, NC – Vision Airlines announced last week that service to nine of its 15 destination cities – including Asheville – will be discontinued as of August 19, a move that was not a surprise to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

“Vision Airlines entered the commercial air service market in a big way last spring,” said Lew Bleiweis, airport director. “Their business model included tapping into vacation destination markets and drawing travelers between those markets. The summer season in the panhandle of Florida – where Vision is based – is nearing its end, so their exit from many markets is somewhat expected.”

Vision began a two-day-a-week service from Asheville to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida in March, and served approximately 600 passengers each month, or 1.5% of total passengers at AVL . The loss of Vision from AVL will have a minimal impact on the organization’s budget.

Vision has indicated that the reduction of service to and from Northwest Florida Regional is temporary. The airline will resume a fuller schedule of flights starting April 1 of next year, and some of the discontinued destinations will be brought back while new destinations likely will be added. Vision has not indicated which cities will be served again in the spring.

“As we leave the busy summer travel season, it is very common for airports to see changes in air service,” said Bleiweis. “Asheville will continue to see air service come and go – that’s the nature of the business. What we, will continue to do is communicate with airlines, advocate for needed routes, and keep Western North Carolina top-of-mind with airline planners. We have a proven market, and an exceptional airport, and I look forward to what’s to come.”


Registration now open for the first-ever Runway 5K at Asheville Regional Airport

Asheville, NC – A new event for 5K enthusiasts – the Asheville Regional Airport Runway 5K & Healthy Fun Day presented by Mission Health – is now open for registration. Visit flyavl.com for information.

The 5K will be held on a portion of the runway and airport campus on Saturday, October 1 at 9am, providing participants a chance to walk or run in celebration of the airport’s 50th anniversary. Proceeds will benefit Ladies Night Out, a program that provides mammograms and screenings to women who cannot afford them.

“The airport and the runway are a big part of the history of our area – not only from a growth perspective, but also from a very personal perspective to so many,” said Tina Kinsey, director of marketing at the airport and event coordinator. “I have spoken with numerous residents of our area about the days when Sunday lunch was enjoyed at the airport. Requests are frequently made for us to build a runway observation deck. And the weekly calls I receive with questions about the military planes that frequent our airspace confirm to me that there is an on-going fascination with aviation. So in honor of our 50th anniversary, we’re providing a way for our community to get up close and personal with the runway and aircraft.”

“A 5K is a popular way for people of all ages to participate in health and wellness,” said Becky Brown, marketing manager at Mission Health. “This is a great way to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle, while helping a key regional organization celebrate its golden anniversary.”

The free “Healthy Fun Day” festival will be from 10am to 1pm. It will also be staged adjacent to the runway, and will include aircraft on display, health and wellness education and activities, live music, low-cost airplane rides (provided by the WNC Pilot’s Association), and chances for attendees to win free airfare. The event is being made possible by the Airport and in partnership with the following key sponsors: Mission Health (presenting sponsor); Landmark Aviation; the WNC Ag Center; the WNC Pilot’s Association; Clear Channel Radio (Star 104.3 and 570AM); Asheville Radio Group (Mix 96.5); and Windstream.

Registration information for the Runway 5K can be found at flyavl.com.


AirTran to Depart from AVL

The Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) announced this week that AirTran Airways, which was recently acquired by Southwest Airlines, will be discontinuing service from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) effective January 6, 2012.

AirTran Airways has served AVL since June 2009 with non-stop flights to Orlando, FL, and with service to Tampa, FL, since February 2010. ARAA data indicates that AirTran accounted for approximately 8% of the airport’s passenger traffic in 2010.

“Thanks to the support of this community, the AirTran routes have been successful, and we had high hopes that Southwest Airlines would choose to continue serving Western North Carolina residents,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., airport director. “While we are disappointed with the decision, we also have confidence in the other six airlines serving our airport and in the loyalty of our passengers.”

AVL is served by low-cost carrier Vision Airlines, which also offers non-stop flights to Florida, as well as by American Airlines/American Eagle (seasonal), Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

“Our goal is to continue increasing the ease of travel from AVL, especially through the addition of new non-stop destinations and competitively-priced fares,” said Bleiweis. “We meet regularly with airlines to advocate for these things, and are optimistic about the future of air travel for our region.”
 


AVL Board Appoints At-Large Member

The Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) Board swore in its newly appointed At-Large board member during its regularly-scheduled February meeting.

Bill Moyer, a resident of Henderson County, was selected by the current board members to serve the remainder of the four-year term vacated by Chuck McGrady in February.

A native of Pennsylvania, Moyer spent his career as a partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Dechert, Price & Rhoads, practicing corporate, securities and utility law, and as CEO of C-TEC, a public telecommunications company. Moving with his family to Henderson County in 1990, Bill became active in community affairs and served on numerous civic and charitable boards. Bill served on the Henderson County Board of Commissioners for twelve years, eight as chair. He currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Pardee Hospital.

“We are pleased to welcome Mr. Moyer to the Authority Board,” said David Hillier, Chairman. “Thanks to the hard work of our board and staff, we have celebrated some great achievements of late and I look forward to continuing that trend with Bill and the rest of the board in the coming months.”

The ARAA Board has overall financial and policy-making responsibility for the airport and is comprised of seven members. Three Airport Authority members are appointed by the Asheville City Council, three by Buncombe County Board of Commissioners, and the seventh is appointed by the six as the At-Large member from Buncombe or Henderson County. Authority meetings are currently held on the second Friday of the month and are open to the public.
 


AVL Announces new Non-stop flight to Philadelphia; returning flights to Tampa and Dallas/Ft. Worth

Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) is pleased to announce new non-stop service on US Airways to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) beginning May 8, 2011.

The flight will operate on Sundays, with varying departure times—all morning flights.

This will be the third destination offered by US Airways, which currently operates several flights a day to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), and one daily flight to LaGuardia International Airport (LGA).

Also in May, AirTran will return its non-stop flight to Tampa International Airport (TPA), and will offer the flight four days each week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:20 p.m. and Sundays at 2:37 p.m. The Tampa flight, previously a seasonal service, is now scheduled as a year-round service, and joins Orlando as the second non-stop destination provided by AirTran.

On June 9, American Airlines returns its seasonal flight from Asheville Regional Airport to Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW). The service will be daily, with a 4:30 p.m. departure time.
 


Asheville Regional Airport Wins Award for Best General Aviation Project

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) was awarded the General Aviation Project of the Year by the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives at their annual meeting in Mobile, Ala. last week.

AVL was recognized for its creative use of a regional partnership to efficiently, effectively and safely conduct a major fill project that created 15 usable acres of aeronautical use land on the airport campus, on the north side near Interstate 26. The fill project combined the resources and talents of multiple organizations to design and undertake an EPA-encouraged beneficial use program utilizing coal combustion by-products (called CCBs) for engineered-fill material. The project allowed the airport to import 840,000 cubic yards of CCBs from the nearby Progress Energy electric generating plant. This eliminated the need to utilize the earth’s natural resources while creating the additional acres of buildable land – all at a significant cost savings to the airport.

In the process of generating electricity, coal-fired power plants such as Progress Energy’s Asheville Plant, generate CCBs. As part of Progress Energy’s commitment to the environment, the company seeks to reuse the by-products in a safe and responsible manner. The airport’s fill project – which not only provided a location for the CCBs, but also did so while exceeding recommended environmental and engineering requirements – was a perfect match for the reuse of the material.

"The partnership between the Airport and Progress Energy was beneficial for us both. Progress Energy found an environmentally-sound way to reuse the coal combustion by-product, and the Airport saved millions of dollars in costs that traditional fill methods would have required," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. "The airport industry recognized that our project was a creative solution for all involved, and I am pleased with their recognition of our project."

The Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives consists of over 450 members from 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The association is guided by a nine-member Board of Directors, and is committed to promoting the professionalism and financial stability in the administration of airports.