Asheville Regional Airport

Meet The New Terminal

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.

New Terminal

Windows and Natural Light

Throughout the terminal, walls of windows – often floor-to-ceiling – will make the airport bright and welcoming.


Concessions Plaza

A beautiful concessions plaza and inviting spaces to relax before a flight will greet you as you exit the escalator on the second floor.


Two Concourses

Six spacious gates to the south, and six more to the north.  


Boarding Bridges

All gates will have dedicated boarding bridges.

  • 1
    Windows and Natural Light

    Throughout the terminal, walls of windows – often floor-to-ceiling – will make the airport bright and welcoming.

  • 2
    Concessions Plaza

    A beautiful concessions plaza and inviting spaces to relax before a flight will greet you as you exit the escalator on the second floor.

  • 3
    Two Concourses

    Six spacious gates to the south, and six more to the north.  

  • 4
    Boarding Bridges

    All gates will have dedicated boarding bridges.

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.”

Fall 2023

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.

Winter 2023
central energy plant

The Central Energy Plant is progressing

Construction is progressing on the Central Energy Plant (CEP), the building which will house equipment that will provide utilities, such as heating and cooling, for the new airport terminal.  Read More

Currently, interior finishing continues and the underground utility connection work is underway. 

November 2023

Contractor Reaches 100,000 Man Hours

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

Latest News

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





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.

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8-11-2023 // 8:52am

Asheville Regional Airport breaks ground on AVL Forward, a landmark infrastructure project to build a new airport terminal for western North Carolina

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), a cornerstone of regional connectivity and economic vitality, embarked on a historic journey today to break ground on AVL Forward, the most significant infrastructure endeavor in the airport's 60-plus year history.  In recent years, Asheville Regional Airport has experienced remarkable growth, and the construction of a new airport terminal is a natural next step for this vital hub connecting the western North Carolina region to the world.

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.

“Our new airport terminal represents more than just a building; it signifies the promise of economic growth and prosperity for our community,” said Lew Bleiweis, President and CEO of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority (GARAA).  “We are creating an environment that not only facilitates air travel but also elevates the overall airport experience, designed to leave lasting positive impressions on all who pass through our doors.”

Upon completion, the AVL Forward project will yield a remarkable airport terminal that stands 150% larger than the current airport. The airport will grow from seven gates to twelve, with ample room for further expansion. The new design concept, inspired by the natural beauty of the western North Carolina mountains, will feature a spacious and bright grand lobby, state-of-the-art ticketing and baggage claim areas, an inviting concessions plaza, and thoughtfully designed gate areas to enhance passenger comfort and experience.

Award-winning architectural firm Gresham Smith led an innovative design process resulting in AVL Forward's aesthetic vision, harmonizing modern functionality with the region's distinctive charm.  Gresham Smith brings a wealth of expertise and creativity to the project, promising a terminal that will not only serve the practical needs of travelers but also exude the welcoming and authentic essence of the region.

Construction of the new terminal will be managed by Hensel Phelps, an industry leader known for its commitment to excellence and innovation. Further enriching the project's management will be the expertise of Parsons, a firm with a specialty in construction management services. Hired as an extension of the airport’s planning staff, their involvement helps ensure that AVL Forward will meet the highest standards of quality and efficiency throughout every phase.

To keep the community engaged and informed, Asheville Regional Airport has launched a dedicated section of its website: flyavl.com/avlforward. Here, visitors can access up-to-date information, images, a timeline of project milestones, an educational video detailing the project's scope, and various ways to actively engage with the airport throughout the duration of this transformative initiative.

The AVL Forward project marks a pivotal leap forward for Asheville Regional Airport, solidifying its role as a gateway to and from western North Carolina. With construction now underway, the airport is set to achieve new heights of convenience, comfort, and connectivity for the millions of passengers who will pass through its doors.

"It's an exciting day," said Bleiweis, "and the beginning of a journey that I hope our region is willing to take with us.  I want to thank our travelers and the community for their patience during this extraordinarily complex construction project.  The next few years will be transitional, and the end result will be worth it.  We will all be proud of our new airport."


Construction Phases

Phase One:   The existing north concourse will be demolished in August 2023, followed by an approximate two-year period of construction of a new north concourse, which will house seven gates and six boarding bridges, spacious gate hold rooms, restrooms and concessions areas.  Additionally, the northern expansion of the ticket lobby, a temporary TSA checkpoint and south baggage claim expansion will be constructed.  *Milestone moment:  When construction is complete, the new north concourse will open for passenger and airline use.

Phase Two:  The existing south concourse will be demolished, followed by an approximate 1.5 year period of construction of a new south concourse, second-level concessions plaza, the southern expansion of the ticket lobby, the northern expansion of baggage claim, construction of the new grand lobby and permanent TSA security check point. *Milestone moment: Upon completion of this phase, the airport will feel brand new, with twelve gates and boarding bridges and expansive space for all points in the passenger journey within the airport terminal.

Phase Three:  Due to the significant phasing approach necessary, there will still be some “back of house” construction, demolition and clean up occurring for approximately another year. 


Stay Connected with AVL Forward

Visit the dedicated AVL Forward website for project updates, images, milestones, and more: flyavl.com/avlforward

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.









7-31-2023 // 7:37am

“Asheville and the hills around it are full of many sights and sounds…famed as a resort city, each year the area attracts thousands of visitors from all parts of the United States...It has become a popular spot for retirees, as well as industries…” This excerpt from a newspaper article could easily have been written in 2023, but you may be surprised to learn that it was written in 1961. The article titled “Asheville ‘In the Land of the Sky’” appeared in the June 1, 1961 edition of The Piedmonitor, a newsletter published by Piedmont Aviation that focused on the aviation industry. “New multi-million dollar airport is latest star in Asheville’s crown,” states a caption beneath a photo of the newly opened Asheville Regional Airport.  How did AVL evolve from a small local airport with unpaved runways to a large regional commercial airport? Let’s take a brief look at the rich history of AVL.

1920s: Asheville Begins to Grow

The beginning of AVL takes us all the way back to the 1920s. Asheville was growing, but there were no airports in the area, so pilots used various landing strips and small airfields in the area. One such landing strip was “Baird’s Bottom,” which was later flooded to create what is now Beaver Lake in North Asheville.  Not only was Asheville growing, but the aviation industry was beginning to, as well. In 1925, Asheville’s Chamber of Commerce realized, like now, that Asheville was destined to become a key tourist destination and for that to happen, a commercial airport was needed. An aviation committee was created, and the search for land to build an airport began. In 1928, airport development began and the first version of the airport was opened in August of 1928 in Fletcher. This small airport had two unpaved grass runways and a hangar.

1930s: Asheville Finally Gets a Commercial Airport

In 1936 the Asheville-Hendersonville Airport was established after the citIes of Asheville and Hendersonville together purchased 122 acres of land that included the unpaved runways. The goal was to expand the airport to better serve the growing communities of Western North Carolina…wait, is this 1936 or 2023? The commercial airport was created and later improved in the 1940s when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operated the airport. The Asheville-Hendersonville Airport allowed airlines like Delta, Capital, and Piedmont to fly into the area.

1950s: Asheville Outgrows Its Current Airport

As air travel became increasingly popular in the late 1950s, it became obvious that another larger airport was needed. Unfortunately, due to its location in close proximity to mountain ranges, the Asheville-Hendersonville Airport couldn’t be expanded any further. So, the City of Asheville searched for a new location that would allow longer runways to be built that could accommodate the larger planes used in commercial air travel.

A brand new airport would be a multi-million-dollar project that would take years to complete but would greatly benefit the region. This is sounding a lot like 2023 again, isn’t it? “Those in favor say that the airport is needed if Asheville, Buncombe County, and western North Carolina are to keep step with other progressive areas of the state and south. They contend that the present facilities will be obsolete within a very short time…” states an article in the May 5, 1955 edition of The Black Mountain News that also could have been written in the present day. Like today, bonds were issued in order to complete the large project.

1960s: Asheville Regional Airport is Born

On January 16, 1961 Asheville Regional Airport, located about three miles away from the previous Asheville-Hendersonville Airport, was opened. This $2.2 million dollar airport was located on 740 acres and operated by the City of Asheville. The airport was approved to operate day and night commercial flights. Once the 25,060-square-foot terminal building opened in June of that year, the airport was fully operational.

In 1962 an instrument landing system was installed, providing additional safety measures for pilots.

Over Sixty Years and Countless Changes Later

The airport has seen astounding growth and many changes since it opened its doors in 1961. Projects have included runway expansion, construction of new buildings on the airport property, expansion of the terminal, the addition of a loop road, new apron and ramp areas, new boarding ramps, construction of the rental car facility, various improvements around the terminal, the addition of a parking garage, re-development of the airfield, and a new replacement runway.

Changes in sponsorship and governance have also taken place. In 1980, the governance of the airport changed from the City of Asheville to the new Asheville Regional Airport Authority. Then, in 2012 North Carolina legislature voted to change the structure of the airport board, resulting in the current Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority (GARAA), which is the sole sponsoring and governing body for the airport.

The Past Meets the Present

From its humble beginnings as a tiny airfield with unpaved runways to the third busiest airport in the state, Asheville Regional Airport has seen a huge amount of change. And with more change on the horizon, things will look even more different than before in just a few years. It is said that history repeats itself, and Asheville Regional Airport once again finds itself expanding to accommodate and better serve the region. Over the course of 62 years, the airport has reached heights that were never thought possible way back in 1925, when dreams of an airport started to take form.

As the airport sits on the precipice of another great expansion, consider these predictive and lasting words of a newspaper writer from the January 12, 1961 edition of The Black Mountain News: “Here’s to hoping that in the not too distant future the new Asheville Airport can be termed one of the busiest and most attractive in North Carolina.”

The Expedition Team

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

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?

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.


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

Hey! Have you seen these bright new banners around AVL? 👀 Be on the watch for more space as we move AVL Forward! Check out flyavl.com/avlforward to learn more! #flyavl #avlforward
Say hello to Skye, the AVL Space Explorer! ✨💫✈️ Our cosmic mascot friend is showing off the future space at the airport to this local mascot crew! A new AVL is on the horizon, and Skye is going to help keep our community informed as we move AVL Forward!

Do you want to see the future AVL? Visit flyavl.com/AVLForward #AVLForward #flyAVL
AVL Forward has launched and our Space Explorer needs a name! You submitted your ideas and we're ready for a vote! Vote in the comments and one of you will be randomly selected to win some stellar swag. #AVLForward #flyAVL Learn more about AVL Forward at flyavl.com/AVLForward.
It’s CONSTRUCTION WALK day! Join us. Busy, busy, busy…. Building a brand new airport terminal for you with @henselphelps and @parsonscorporation #AVLForward
Come with us while we take a peek inside our central energy plant currently under construction. Equipment in this building will produce heating and cooling for our new airport terminal. Learn more about the new airport terminal at FlyAVL.com/avlforward #avlforward
More space is coming to AVL! #AVLForward Our AVL Forward mascot is ready to start leading the way as we embark on this journey into "more space." However, she needs a name! Comment on this post with your name idea and you could win!

Learn more about the future AVL at flyavl.com/AVLForward

We will randomly select 5 commenters to win some sweet AVL Forward swag on 9/19/23 at 4pm.

What Our Passengers Are Saying

This is my first time flying out of Asheville. This airport is great, I will tell all my family and friends.

Good experience, clean airport. Helpful, friendly, high value people.

We love flying out of Asheville as it is great to have people to assist with checking in and not just machines!  Also, we love the art gallery!! Thanks!

Thank you for the clean, safe airport. Service tonight was amazing.

Clean, friendly, and professional. A great experience!

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!