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60 years and going strong

What. A. Year.  2021 — our 60th anniversary year — was marked with challenges, uncertainties, huge successes, support from our region, and big dreams for the future.  Yes, the pandemic was a central part of all our lives throughout 2021, yet there were many other highlights that lifted our spirits, evoked hope for the future, and shined a spotlight on the resilience of the travel industry fueled by our human need for meaningful connection.

We all learned how to travel differently, with a continued focus on health and safety.  And with masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, vaccines and COVID tests in order, you returned to the skies.  In fact, by the end of 2021, passenger numbers were exceeding pre-pandemic levels — and 2022 looks promising.  Extraordinary.

Each year, we reflect on key accomplishments at the airport — an important exercise.  When AVL grows and succeeds, it is a reflection of our vibrant and thriving region, and 2021 — even with all of its challenges — was a historic 60th anniversary year for us.  We have much to celebrate, and even more to anticipate.   

Thank you for your interest and for supporting your local airport.  Here’s to safe and healthy travels in 2022!

Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

MAJOR IMPACT FOR 60 YEARS – OUR TOP THREE HIGHLIGHTS

BILLIONS GENERATED FOR OUR REGION’S ECONOMY

runway

 

In early 2021, the North Carolina Division of Aviation released its report titled “North Carolina — The State of Aviation.”  In this report, Asheville Regional Airport’s economic impact to our region was quantified (based on 2019 numbers).

  • Nearly $2 Billion in economic impact to the region
     
  • 12.5K local jobs | $400+ Million contributed to personal income
     
  • $65 Million contributed to state and local taxes
     

PASSENGERS CHOSE AVL

2021 was a year of recovery.  Once vaccines became widely available, passenger numbers began to soar, and AVL ended its year nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

  • Monthly passenger numbers compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic) – show sharp increases from May – December
     
  • Record summer growth above June - August 2019
     
  • Record July and best month in AVL’s history

OUR TEAM STOOD STRONG

AVL is proud that even during these uncertain times, we kept all positions in place at the airport —there were no layoffs.  

In fact, the airport board and senior staff recognized the challenging times and implemented retention bonuses for all employees. The dedicated airport team worked hard to keep the airport operating, growing and moving forward — and we celebrate our tremendous staff for their hard work in 2021.

in the air

TWO NEW AIRLINES ANNOUNCED

We were thrilled to learn that two new airlines would join the AVL team:  

Early in the year, JetBlue Airlines announced their intention to begin service to Boston, Massachusetts in summer 2022.  Then in October 2021, Sun Country Airlines began service to Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.

JetBlue
Sun Country Airlines

SIX AIRLINES | 25 NONSTOP DESTINATIONS (A RECORD!)

Now served by Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Sun Country and United, AVL is better connected than ever before.

Ending the year with the highest number of nonstop destinations in the airport’s history (25), including frequent daily flights to major hubs, passengers can travel to and from AVL to just about anywhere in the world.

  • New routes added in 2021
    • Allegiant:  Las Vegas, Nevada (March 2021); Destin, Florida (May 2021); Key West, Florida and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (October 2021)
    • American:  Boston, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. (June 2021)
    • Sun Country:  Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota (October 2021)
  • Routes reinstated or increased in 2021
    • American:  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City, New York 
    • Delta:  New York City, New York

 

ROUTE MAP

on the ground

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to operate as self-sufficiently as possible.

That means leveraging land and other assets to generate revenue for the airport, both for aeronautical and non-aeronautical use.  Significant business development efforts happened in 2021 which will continue to support the long-term financial stability of our region’s airport.

LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN

airport

The airport’s available land was surveyed, and a strategic land development plan was created that outlined space available, most appropriate land uses for each parcel and helped envision a strategic direction for the future development of airport property. 

SEE PLAN HERE

GOLF, ANYONE?

golfer

A major accomplishment in 2020 was the purchase of Broadmoor Golf Links, located in Henderson County and adjacent to the airport’s Runway Protection Zone at the south end of the airfield.

In 2021, the airport entered into a ground lease agreement with DreamCatcher Broadmoor, LLC, for the development, management and operation of a commercial hotel with conference center and the 18-hole golf course.  Coming next will be a four-diamond hotel and conference center, the first of its kind in Henderson County.  The purchase was strategic, allowing for future nonaeronautical revenue diversification, as well as upholding the FAA’s requirement that airports promote compatible land use in areas near the airport.

Construction at the airport

MORE PARKING FOR CARS AND PLANES

SOUTH APRON EXPANSION

Ramp Construction

2021 was also a year of construction of a new area for aircraft parking. 

We have been bursting at the seams on our airfield, especially in the evening when more and more planes are parked at the airport overnight. An expansion project was underway all year to create more aircraft parking space south of the terminal and should be ready for use in early 2022. We will be able to accommodate up to three additional aircraft, depending upon size.

UTILITY UPGRADE

water-sewer

When you’re 60 years old, some of your infrastructure may need some long-overdue attention. 

We upgraded some of our original water and sewer systems, preparing for more modernization and expansion coming soon.

a look forward - brand new airport coming soon

2021 WAS A YEAR OF PLANNING AND DESIGN

NEW FAA CONTROL TOWER DESIGN

MASTER PLAN PROCESS KICKED OFF IN LATE 2021

Connections with community

CELEBRATING 60 YEARS BY BRINGING BACK OUR RUNWAY 5K

 

60 Years - LOGO

 

 

We were excited to bring back our popular Runway 5K in 2021, in celebration of our 60th anniversary.

With more than 1,000 racers and hundreds more spectators, the day was spectacular and offered a memorable experience for many of our friends, neighbors and customers.

All proceeds benefited two local aviation scholarship funds:  the AB-Tech Aviation Fund and the Western North Carolina Pilots Association Educational Foundation.  More than $15,000 was raised to support local aviation education, in partnership with these sponsors: 
Avcon, Gresham Smith, Hensel Phelps, Hunter Subaru, RS&H, Star 104.3, CHA, Vannoy Construction, McGriff, Parrish & Partners.

5K LOGO

 

5K

5K

 

A FOCUS ON PASSENGERS THROUGH COMMUNITY

A NOTE ABOUT COVID-19 AND RECOVERY

Senior Team accomplishments

SENIOR TEAM HIGHLIGHTS

Michael Reisman, A.A.E.Michael Reisman, A.A.E.

DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

MEMBER
American Association of Airport Executives Board

John Coon, A.A.E.John Coon, A.A.E.

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS + MAINTENANCE

MEMBER
North Carolina Airports Association Board

Tina Kinsey, A.A.E.Tina Kinsey, A.A.E.

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING PR + AIR SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

MEMBER
Four Seasons Hospice Board, Hendersonville, N.C. 

MEMBER
Air Service Committee, American Association of Airport Executives

Samuel Sales, A.M.F.Samuel Sales, A.M.F.

PUBLIC SAFETY CHIEF

MEMBER
Blue Ridge Honor Flight Board

 

PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS ACHIEVING ADVANCED LEO CERTIFICATION

Lieutenant Keith Duffie
Public Safety Officer Dustin Irvin

GARAA Board

GREATER ASHEVILLE REGIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY BOARD | 2021

Matthew BurrilMatthew Burril
CHAIR
Appointed By:
Buncombe County

Brad GalbraithBrad Galbraith
VICE CHAIR
Appointed By:  
City of Asheville

Thomas ApodacaThomas Apodaca
MEMBER
Appointed By:
Henderson County

George Erwin, Jr.George Erwin, Jr.
MEMBER
Appointed By:
Henderson County

Susan Russo KleinSusan Russo Klein
MEMBER
Appointed By:
City of Asheville

Britt LovinBritt Lovin
MEMBER
Appointed By:
GARAA Board

Carl H. Ricker, Jr.Carl H. Ricker, Jr.
MEMBER
Appointed By:
Buncombe County

 

 

Financials

At June 30, 2021, the Authority’s assets exceeded liabilities by $205,981,563.
That is an increase of more than $36.9 million from 2020 and an increase of $51.2 million from 2019.

% SOURCES OF AUTHORITY REVENUE

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Annual Report Archive