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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.

1

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.

2

Two Concourses

Five spacious gates to the south, and seven more to the north.  

3

Boarding Bridges

All gates will have dedicated boarding bridges.

4
  • 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

    Five spacious gates to the south, and seven more to the north.  

  • 4
    Boarding Bridges

    All gates will have dedicated boarding bridges.

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.

Latest News

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.”

7-31-2023 // 7:32am

Asheville Regional Airport surpasses 200,000 monthly passengers for the first time in history

It’s a record - more passengers utilized Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) during the month of June 2023 than in any other month in the airport’s history, exceeding 200,000 monthly passengers for the first time.  Up 25% compared to June 2022, this remarkable number is another example of the extraordinary growth that continues to occur at AVL.

"This is a momentous milestone at Asheville Regional Airport,” said Lew Bleiweis, President and CEO. “Surpassing 200,000 passengers in a single month is significant, and preliminary indicators show that July’s passenger numbers will be even larger. I would like to thank each and every traveler who makes the choice to fly from AVL, and please know that we are working hard every day to keep up with this astounding growth."

The continued double-digit percentage growth in passenger traffic month after month is a testament to the region's growing popularity as a premier travel destination, as well as the region’s propensity for travel. The airport's range of routes and airlines has played a pivotal role in catering to the region's travel needs, connecting travelers to an extensive network of domestic and international destinations. 

AVL is the third-busiest airport in the state of North Carolina, and recent Federal Aviation Administration reports show that AVL now ranks 101 out of 403 commercial service airports in the country by annual passenger volume. 

By the numbers:

June 2023 June 2022 Percent Change
226,839 181,885 24.7%

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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5-17-2023 // 2:32pm

Paradies Lagardère and Asheville Regional Airport introduce Aletitude to travelers

Paradies Lagardère, an award-winning airport restaurateur and retailer, and Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) are proud to announce that a new food and beverage outlet, Aletitude, is now open at the airport.

Aletitude offers a grab-and-go concession area and bar, which is a convenient option for passengers. The bar serves a selection of on-tap and bottled beer and wine, and also offers grab-and-go salads and sandwiches. A large selection of snacks can be purchased in addition to bottled drinks. The bar has a seating area where passengers can enjoy their food and drinks while they wait for their flights to board.

Aletitude is located at the recently opened temporary gate area, which is a modular building adjacent to the south end of the terminal. The passenger seating area accommodates 240+ passengers and serves three boarding gates. This temporary gate area is now open so the airport can move forward with the largest infrastructure improvement project ever undertaken at AVL, slated to officially start this August.

"As we embark on the terminal expansion project, our goal is to make sure our passengers are comfortable during the process," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Greater Asheville Regional Airport (GARAA) President and CEO. "Paradies Lagardère has operated the Blue Ridge Tavern since 2011, and Cinnabon and Auntie Anne's since 2019. We are pleased to welcome their addition of Aletitude to the food and beverage offerings at AVL, which is a great way to provide some customer conveniences and comfort during our construction project."

“Asheville Regional Airport’s recent growth has been very impressive, and we are excited to add our new Aletitude concept to support that expansion,” said Gregg Paradies, President and CEO of Paradies Lagardère. “Aletitude offers an excellent bar program with popular selections from great local breweries as well as fresh and convenient snacks and grab-and-go. We greatly appreciate this opportunity and look forward to maximizing the overall dining experience at AVL.”

Paradies Lagardère is a leading airport travel retailer and restaurateur in North America, operating more than 950 stores and restaurants in 100 airports. Specializing in three airport concessions areas - Travel Essentials, Specialty Retail and Dining with expertise in international, national, and local brands - Paradies Lagardère's commitment to exceptional customer service, superior design and award-winning retail and restaurant operations has earned the company numerous accolades, including Best Airport Retailer for 25 consecutive years and Best Brand Restaurateur by Airport Experience News. For more information, visit paradieslagardere.com. 

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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Beer tap handles inside bar area

Pictured above, from the perspective from inside the bar.  Local brews on tap, right inside the new temporary gate area that will be in use for several years during the airport's terminal construction.

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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.

More space is landing in the near future, where you'll board your flight in astronomical style with two concourses and twelve gates. It'll be here faster than you think. Learn more at https://flyavl.com/AVLForward #AVLForward #FlyAVL
What a difference a year makes... Take a look at our Central Energy Plant one year ago vs. now! #AVLForward #flyAVL
Piece by piece the new north concourse is coming together! #AVLForward
Green light? Pull right in - that spot's available! Our new parking garage guidance system allows you to see where spots are available at a glance, increasing efficiency when searching for your spot. #flyAVL #AVLForward
🌟✈️ STELLAR GIVEAWAY ALERT! 🌟✈️ At AVL we know that our passengers are superstars! We had an astronomical 2.2 million passengers fly through AVL in 2023, and we're building MORE SPACE for you ... let's celebrate by giving away #AVLForward socks! LIKE and COMMENT on this post (by 2/23/24 at 4pm) for your chance to win a pair of custom socks! #flyAVL
Can you spot the difference? You may have noticed something missing along the curb at AVL. Recently, a portion of the front canopy along the curbside at the north end of the terminal was demolished. It's another step in our progress toward a new and larger terminal! #flyAVL #AVLForward

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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