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Meet The New Terminal

Click the descriptions to see the future — take a virtual tour of the area. 

The airport design is modern, spacious, bright with thoughtful design touches reflective of our area’s natural beauty.  The design includes elements like river-inspired flooring patterns and waterfall-influenced ceilings, and a “living wall” in the new baggage claim.

2019-2023
Shooting for the Stars

Shooting for the Stars

3+ year design project resulted in a plan for a new, modern airport for western North Carolina. Read More

The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority began a complex and exciting design process in 2019.  In partnership with Gresham Smith, the architectural firm chosen to create the new design, airport stakeholders and thousands of community members were engaged to hone a guiding aesthetic for our region’s airport of the future.  This “north star” was followed throughout the years of design:  to create a modern gateway, humbly rooted in timeless natural beauty.

May 2023
Plane Icon

Numbers are in – 1Q23 was the busiest January - March in history!

Spring 2023

Mission Control

New central energy plant underway

May 2023

Prepping for Launch

Temporary gate areas opened

August 2023
Terminal groundbreaking

Time to launch!

A historic groundbreaking event was hosted at the airport on August 11, 2023, marking the beginning of the biggest infrastructure project in AVL’s history. Read More

This ceremony kicked off the three-phase construction project that will result in a new airport terminal that will be the vital next step in better serving the western North Carolina community’s travel needs. “The groundbreaking ceremony included airport stakeholders, community leaders, and local, regional, and national elected officials, who witnessed the end of an era and the beginning of the future when a corner of the 62-year old airport terminal was torn down. This historic occasion celebrated the visionary efforts and collaboration that have paved the way for the transformative AVL Forward project, highlighting the vision of past and current leaders. The expansive project is a result of a $400 million investment, supported by a combination of funding sources including federal and state grants, airport revenue bonds, and airport operating revenue.”

November 2023
demolition

North concourse demolition is complete!

Demolition of the north concourse is complete, and Hensel Phelps, AVL’s construction management company, is hard at work building a new north concourse from the ground-up.  Read More

This portion of the AVL Forward project will take about 18 months to complete. Placement of structural steel is anticipated to begin in early 2024. 

November 2023

More parking!

The new 600 space shuttle lot, located south of the airport (across the street from the WNC Ag Center) opened in time for holiday travel. Airport shuttles continuously service the lot.

November 2023

Contractor Reaches 100,000 Man Hours

Hensel Phelps, our construction firm, documented 100,000 man-hours worked.

January 2024
vertical steel

First piece of vertical steel for the new airport terminal was set

The first piece of vertical steel was set at the site for the new North Concourse.

January 2024
Plane

For the first time in history, more than 2 million passengers utilized AVL in 2023!

January 2024
Demolition

Demolition began on the old north ticketing and admin area

Demolition began the week of January 19 on the old north ticketing and admin area. The two-story structure is being demolished to make way for the new north concourse! Vertical steel is being erected adjacent to the demolition area. 

February 2024
Construction

The first section of curbside canopy on the north end of the terminal was demolished.

February 2024

A milestone moment for the air traffic control tower

A massive concrete pour for the base of the tower was completed.

March 2024
North Concourse decking

Vertical steel and concrete decking complete

The vertical steel installation and concrete decking for the new North Concourse was completed. 

May 2024

New operating changes implemented

The rental car check-in counters moved to temporary modular buildings. Also, a new outside queuing space for the ticket lobby was created.

June 2024

The north end of Shuttle Lot South is complete!

A connecting road to Terminal Drive was added and the ground transportation pickup area was relocated from the Parking Garage to the north end of Shuttle Lot South.

Latest News

6-7-2024 // 2:07am

Letter to the community from Lew Bleiweis, President + CEO

[HIGH RESOLUTION PHOTOS AND RENDERINGS AVAILABLE BELOW]

 

We have begun to welcome the first of our summer guests, and we know that many of you will begin vacations soon, potentially passing through Asheville Regional Airport. I wanted to take a moment to remind you about what is happening at your local airport. 

 

When we opened 63 summers ago in 1961, Asheville wasn’t so big and neither were we. But now, we are the third busiest airport in North Carolina and growing still. Today, six airlines operate at AVL and offer 27 nonstop destinations for all of you, and for our visitors as well.

 

To put our recent growth in perspective, in 2023, we were in the top 5 fastest growing airports in the US with a record-breaking 2.2 million passengers. It took us 57 years to get to a million passengers a year, but only five years to more than double that number. This is due in large part to many of you who continue to fly from AVL, utilizing the great flight schedules available right here at home.

 

There is much to be proud of, but I continually acknowledge that these accomplishments have also come with growing pains. The last few summers at AVL have been our busiest ever and our 63-year-old airport has reached its capacity. The new passenger terminal is needed, and we are building this complex project as quickly as possible. In fact, we began the initial planning more than five years ago, followed by about three years of design and engineering. Building a new airport terminal is a long process, and it is exciting to finally be in the construction phase.

 

We are calling our historic infrastructure project AVL Forward, which will result in a new terminal, 150% larger than the current airport. We will grow from 7 gates to 12 gates. Our new terminal will have gate hold rooms large enough to accommodate more passengers at one time, as newer airplanes visiting AVL hold more seats than the ones we welcomed just a few years ago. The ticket lobby, grand lobby, TSA checkpoint and baggage claim will all be more spacious. There will be more of everything: more boarding bridges, more concession options, more bathrooms, greater accessibility for our guests with special needs, and even relief areas for our four-legged passengers. 

 

The first phase of this project, the new north concourse, will be ready by Summer of 2025, and we know that can’t come fast enough for our community and our visitors. In the meantime, we must operate for one more summer in our temporary gate areas. We are continually working to provide ways to make your experience as smooth as possible. We also ask you to make a plan before you come to the airport. 

 

Arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your flight’s boarding time. Getting to AVL with enough time is essential. 

 

Are you planning on parking at the airport? If so, decide which of our five parking lots work best for you (including our newest 600-space Shuttle Lot South). We now update our parking lot capacity in real time on our website homepage at www.flyavl.com. If parking lots are at capacity in the days prior to your departure, we will open overflow lots. However, you may also choose to make plans with friends or family to drop you off or explore other ground transportation options that we have listed on our website.

 

The day of your flight, make sure you are checking in with your airline to ensure your flight is on time and give yourself plenty of time to arrive, check bags, and go through TSA screening before going to your gate. Remember, most airlines close their doors to boarding passengers fifteen minutes before departure and passengers are not allowed to board once doors close.

 

We’re working to streamline our airline check-in area and have staff and volunteers working during peak times to assist you. TSA PreCheck is a program that can greatly reduce your wait time in security lines. Consider this program if you qualify and travel frequently. The dedicated TSA team at AVL works to make screening as efficient as possible during peak times, but safety is always the number one priority. Ensure that you don’t experience unnecessary delays in the screening process. Check www.tsa.gov for a list of items that can be in checked baggage, but not carry-on bags, and a list of prohibited items.

 

And last, it’s important to remember that growth affects the airport, and also many of the airlines, restaurants and rental car providers that operate here. While we all work together, we all have different responsibilities. If a passenger experiences a flight delay, or an issue with luggage or a rental car, the passenger may think that the airport management team is responsible for providing that service. This is not the case – all businesses that provide service at the airport are independent and manage their own staff and operating procedures. The operations include handling flights, luggage, rental car reservations or providing restaurant or retail services. We communicate daily with our tenant organizations to ensure that disrupted operations are addressed, and that improvements are being made. Asheville Regional Airport always advocates for passengers and guests, and provides support and improvements in areas that we, as an airport, can control. 

 

We are so grateful that our community and travelers are joining us in our excitement about what’s to come. We ask that when you pack for your summer vacation you save some space for a plan and some extra patience. We promise we are working hard to provide our region with a new world-class terminal we can all be proud of, and I thank you for continuing to choose to fly from your local airport. Together, we will move AVL Forward!

 

LEW BLEIWEIS HEADSHOT

NORTH CONCOURSE PHOTO 1

 

NORTH CONCOURSE PHOTO 2

 

NORTH CONCOURSE PHOTO 3

 

CENTRAL ENERGY PLANT INSIDE

 

CENTRAL ENERGY PLANT OUTSIDE

 

RENDERING AIRSIDE FULL TERMINAL

 

RENDERING INSIDE NORTH CONCOURSE

 

RENDERING BAGGAGE CLAIM

1-25-2024 // 11:41am

The numbers are in: for the first time in history, more than 2 million annual passengers utilized AVL in 2023

(Asheville, N.C.) Following the commencement of the largest construction project in Asheville Regional Airport's (AVL) history, the airport proudly marks yet another record-breaking year, showcasing continued and remarkable double-digit growth. In 2023, an impressive 2,246,411 passengers traveled to or from AVL, a 22.2% increase over 2022 figures, catapulting the airport's annual passenger count beyond the historic 2 million mark for the first time ever.

Lew Bleiweis, President and CEO, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "The growth at our region's airport is not just significant; it's extraordinary. We extend our congratulations to our airline partners for their successes in western North Carolina and express our gratitude to our region's travelers for consistently choosing AVL for their journeys."

The outstanding growth in 2023 can be attributed to several pivotal factors. First, airlines actively expanded their offerings, introducing new routes and enhancing services on existing ones. Airlines at AVL now offer 27 unique nonstop airport destinations, the highest in the airport’s history. This diverse range of air service options provides travelers with unprecedented choices and flexibility, whether departing from or arriving in AVL for their travel plans.

Second, local travelers demonstrated a strong preference for flying from their regional airport, a crucial element bolstering airline growth in the market.

And last, the region's prominence as a nationally recognized travel destination played a pivotal role, with Asheville Regional Airport positioned as the gateway for many of our region’s visitors. 

“I would like to personally thank our local travelers and neighbors for their continued support and patience as we manage this ongoing, extraordinary growth,” said Bleiweis. “We are hard at work building the airport passenger terminal of our region’s future, more parking has been constructed, and we are focused on helping the passenger experience be as smooth as possible during this important and exciting construction period.”

The third-busiest commercial service airport in North Carolina, AVL is served by six airline partners:  Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Sun Country and United, who offer nonstop service to 27 unique airport destinations throughout the country.  To learn more, visit www.flyavl.com.  To learn more about the airport’s construction project that will result in a new airport passenger terminal, visit www.flyavl.com/avlforward 

 

BY THE NUMBERS - 6 YEARS FROM 1M+ ANNUAL PASSENGERS TO 2M+

 

YEAR

ANNUAL PASSENGERS

% CHANGE YR/YR

2018

1,134,568

 

 

+19%

2019

1,616,762

+43%

2020

704,972

-56% *Pandemic

2021

1,428,266

 

 

103%

2022

1,838,793

 

+29%

2023

2,246,411

 

+22%

8-28-2023 // 10:27am

July 2023 passenger numbers are in, far surpassing record June utilization

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) continues to break records.  July 2023 is now the airport’s record-breaking month of passenger utilization, with 244,504 passengers flying to or from AVL, a 24.4% increase over July 2022.  Of note, the July numbers far surpassed the June 2023 record number of 226,839 passengers and the first month in the airport’s 62-year history in which more than 200,000 passengers were served.

“It’s important to pause and note these historic moments,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., President and CEO.  “The double-digit percentage growth month after month, year after year, has been astounding, and I thank our community for continuing to take advantage of the amazing flight options available at AVL.  I also want to say that we are working hard to keep up with this growth and genuinely appreciate our travelers’ patience as we build the future AVL.”

AVL grew to be the third busiest airport in North Carolina in 2022, and this year was ranked 101 out of 400+ commercial service airports in the United States in terms of passenger utilization.

The airport broke ground on AVL Forward this month, the most significant infrastructure project in its history, a project more than five years in the making due to complex design, engineering, financing, bidding and several years of preparatory construction.  This milestone project will result in a new airport terminal 150% larger than before, and the first concourse will be open for passenger use in approximately two years. 

More parking has also been constructed, with even more on the way by fall of this year.

“The growth momentum is real, and we are grateful to our airline partners for their continued investment in our region,” said Bleiweis.  “And I can’t say this enough:  thank you to our region’s travelers for understanding the growth and temporary space challenges we are experiencing.  We’re moving as quickly as possible to grow our infrastructure.  The end result will be worth it, and I believe we will all be so proud of our region’s airport.”

To learn more about AVL Forward, visit www.flyavl.com/avlforward.

By the numbers:

July 2023

July 2022

Percent Change

244,504

196,507

24.4%

 

About Asheville Regional Airport:

Serving more than 1.8 million passengers in 2022, Asheville Regional Airport is continuing its growth trajectory.  Now the third largest airport in North Carolina, the airport is served by six airlines that provide nonstop service to 26 unique airport destinations.  For more information, visit flyavl.com.

# # # #

Photos

Check out our photo gallery!

The Expedition Team

Visionaries.  Imagineers.  Dreamers.  Designers.  Planners.  Builders.

Questions
Why build a new terminal?
What is the construction timeline?
Why are all flights ground boarding now? Will boarding bridges come back?
What are some of the coolest things to look forward to?
Will more airlines and routes come to AVL when the project is complete?
How is this major project funded?
Is more parking being added?
What is the passenger experience like right now in the airport?
Answers

One word:  growth. 

The airport has seen remarkable growth for the past seven years and has been one of the fastest-growing airports in the country for most of those years.  AVL is the gateway to and from western North Carolina, a place more and more people call home or want to visit.  We are literally bursting at the seams.  It’s time for more space, for now and for the future.

Blast off to a 3.5-year journey

We officially broke ground in August 2023, and we are projecting to complete the project within 3.5 years (with final touches still underway after we open).  This is a phased project, so you will enjoy much of the new terminal much sooner, with a new north concourse projected to open in 2025.  Check out our interactive timeline for more details.

Travel is about adventure, right?

We know that it feels like a blast from the past to walk outside on the tarmac, brave the elements, and make your way to a set of air stairs to board your plane.  Rest assured, outside "ground boarding" is only necessary during our first two years of construction.  We don’t have room right now for boarding bridges – we need every inch of ramp space possible for the aircraft.  Boarding bridges will be back as soon as we open the north concourse in 2025.  Thanks for bearing with us and tapping into your adventurous spirit!

We're over-the-moon about what's coming.

Here are a few examples:

  • A lovely, airy food, beverage and retail plaza with room to orbit and lots of local options available (stay tuned – more to come about this!).

  • We can't wait to install our living wall!  It’s a way to bring our beautiful outdoors indoors.

  • The bathroom situation is stellar:  bright, comfortable restrooms with changing tables for babies as well as appropriate space for aging or differently-abled travel companions, inclusive options and ... yes ... even an indoor pet relief area for traveling animals.

  • Dedicated rooms where infants can be fed or nursing mothers can pump will be located near the gate areas.  

  • And ART!  We’ll have multiple mini-galleries in the airport where local art displays will rotate.  And for the first time in our history, we will commission large-scale art pieces for display in key locations.  We are WNC, after all.  Art is a huge part of our sense of place.

  • There’s so much more – we’ll add to this list as more details become available.

Our mission:  ready for the future

This project is about meeting our space needs now and making sure we’ve planned for potential growth in the future.  While we can’t predict exactly what will happen, we do believe that growth will continue in our region and at AVL.  And we will be ready.

Mission Control - financing the biggest project in AVL's history

This major $400 million project is being funded by government bonds, federal and state grants (entitlement and discretionary), and airport operating funds.  Our operating funds come from users of the airport:  airlines, rental car companies, other tenants of the airport, advertisers, and passengers (when they pay to utilize airport services, such as parking).

*Note:  no tax dollars are used to fund airport capital projects or operations.

A separate mission:  Project Parking

AVL Forward is solely about building a new terminal.  However, we have our eye on parking, as well.  Simultaneously in the first year of this project, we will be building an additional remote shuttle lot south of the airport (across from the WNC Ag Center).  And our master plan calls for a focus on a second parking garage, when the time is right.  Stay tuned.

It's a space adventure!

Good news!  We are operating in similar square footage that we’ve always had - just in different locations.  We still have our large, grand gate area to the south, with two-story ceilings and windows and comfortable seating available for passengers.  We have added temporary gate space adjacent to this south gate, which houses three boarding areas, restrooms and a bar.     

And for a while (until the new north concourse opens in 2025), you will be walking outside to get on and off aircraft.  Just part of the adventure, right?

We’ll pamper you from time to time, surprising you with pop-up events with goodies and smiles.  We promise to keep you informed and give you ways to communicate with us if you have ideas about how we can make this process more comfortable for you.

Thanks for your patience and keep cheering for AVL.  We’re your airport, and in just a few short years, it’ll be an out-of-this-world passenger experience every day.

#AVLForward

Let’s get social!  Check out recent pics, events, and more.

Skye, the AVL Space Explorer thinks it's pretty stellar that you're able to leave your 3-1-1 liquids and electronics in your bag during screening at AVL! Just be sure that your carry-on will fit in a bin before going through the checkpoint. #flyAVL #AVLForward #SummerTravelTips
In order to build an airport that is 150% larger, it takes an ASTRONOMICAL amount of materials! Passengers can look forward to the new north concourse opening in 2025! #flyAVL #AVLForward
This AVL Space Explorer, knows that without a space suit you can get too much sun exposure. If bringing along sunscreen, remember to pack your full-size bottles in your checked bag. #flyAVL #AVLForward #SummerTravelTips
🌟 Watch the future unfold! 🌟 Check out the incredible progress of AVL Forward at Asheville Regional Airport. These modern and spacious facilities will transform your travel experience to and from WNC. See exciting updates at https://flyavl.com/AVLforward (link in bio).✈️✨ #AVLForward #flyAVL
Don't let your bags get lost in space! Skye, the AVL Space Explorer, wants to remind everyone to label your bags and other important items while traveling this summer. #flyAVL #AVLForward #SummerTravelTips
Skye, the AVL Space Explorer, here to wish everyone a happy and fun-filled fourth of July! It'll be a busy travel weekend, so thank you for your patience as we continue to build an out-of-this-world new airport for you. #flyAVL #AVLForward #SummerTravelTips

What Our Passengers Are Saying

"I’m looking forward to our new airport terminal and love flying my hometown Asheville Regional Airport." -Eliana O. 

"We love AVL and are excited for the much needed renovations and upgrades! Can't wait to see the 'new' AVL!!" -Eric M. 

"I absolutely love flying in and out of the Asheville Airport and do so multiple times a year! I can't wait to see the new terminal when finished! AVL Forward!" -Dawn L. 

"Fly AVL every other week and enjoy the growth and progress." -Ricardo C. 

"Great job, looking forward to the the bigger and better service AVL will provide while still keeping that small personal feeling." -Maureen W. 

"Love flying through this airport. So easy and can’t wait for the new terminal!" -Ryan W. 

Send Us a Signal

We want to hear from you.  Let us know your compliments, ideas for improvements, questions or concerns.  And thank you for flying from AVL!

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