Record passenger numbers continue: July 2017 was the first-ever 100,000 passenger month at AVL

(Asheville, N.C.)

July 2017 was the busiest single month on record at AVL – for the first time in the airport's 56-year history, more than 100,000 passengers used the airport in one month. Specifically, 100,998 passengers were served by five airlines: American, Allegiant, Delta, Elite and United, an 11.6% increase compared to July 2016. Year-to-date, passenger numbers are up 15% compared to 2016 – setting the pace for another record year.

"We have experienced three consecutive years of record passenger use," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director, "And the trend is continuing. It is exciting to see the airlines add service and seats in our market, and equally positive that travelers are using those services. The success is good for the airlines, good for the airport, and most importantly – very positive for our travelers. AVL continues to be one of the best connected regional airports in the U.S."

Growth at the airport can be attributed to several factors. First, the airlines continue to add seats in the market, and these seats are being used. The planes are full, and the demand for air service is outpacing the supply. Asheville and western North Carolina continue to grow as a popular destination, and the passenger numbers reflect this fact.

"I would like to thank area residents for continuing to use their local airport," said Bleiweis. "We are proud to be the local gateway to and from the world, and are ready for continued growth."

Asheville Regional Airport is nearing the completion of Project SOAR: Significant Opportunity for Aviation and the Region – an $80 million, four-plus year project resulting in a new (replacement) runway and additional taxiway to serve the region's aviation needs for decades to come. A 1,300-space parking garage is also under construction, and will be open by Thanksgiving.


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ORIGIN: Asheville Regional Airport unveils new gallery exhibit

(Asheville, N.C.) The Art Gallery at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) unveiled a new exhibit, Origin, on display through October 29, 2017.  The exhibit features artwork from four artists whose work reflects the western North Carolina region.

Acrylic paintings by Kim Rody Kopp welcome summer to the mountains with her use of color in vibrant statement pieces, capturing views from the area. The archival photographic prints by Bonnie Cooper and Dan McGowan strategically document a piece of the heritage of WNC. Paul Karnowski's canvases leave the viewer considering the dynamics between where things begin and end.

Whether Asheville is one's origin or destination, the exhibit at the airport gallery delivers a bright and thought provoking showcase. Origin invites travelers to take a glimpse of the area through a new perspective.

"The art gallery is truly a way for both the passengers and public alike to experience a taste of our region," said Alexandra Bradley, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at AVL and curator of the gallery. 

Artwork can be purchased from the gallery by emailing Artists who reside in any of the eleven counties within AVL's primary service market may apply for acceptance into upcoming exhibits. Details about the program, including application instructions, can be found on the airport's website at

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Elite Airways introduces nonstop jet service between AVL and Vero Beach, Florida to start May 25

Elite Airways LLC today announced new nonstop flights between Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) in Florida. The new flights, scheduled on Thursdays and Sundays between VRB and AVL will begin on May 25. Early-bird fares start at $179 each way and tickets are now on sale at 877-393-2510 and

Elite Airways operates a fleet of Bombardier CRJ-200 and CRJ-700 jet airliners known for comfort and efficiency, and maintains an impeccable safety record. Passengers receive free onboard snacks and beverages, first checked bag up to 50lbs, and no ticketing change fees* (see website for details). Asheville is located within North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains and is known for a vibrant arts scene, national parks and hiking trails, and historic architecture. Vero Beach offers luxury beachfront living and resorts, world-class golf, dining, shopping, fine arts and cultural attractions.

“We are pleased to offer nonstop jet service between Asheville and Vero Beach with a Thursday/Sunday schedule that will be ideal for vacationers headed in either direction,” said John Pearsall, President of Elite Airways. “We look forward to providing service in Asheville and sincerely thank airport and community leaders for their support.”

“Asheville Regional Airport is growing significantly, with more passengers than ever before flying to and from western North Carolina,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director.  “We are pleased to welcome Elite Airways as the newest airline at AVL, and look forward to welcoming travelers to and from Vero Beach, Florida.”           

“Nonstop jet service to Asheville is a unique addition at VRB, and one that has been highly sought after by passengers who would rather take a nonstop flight versus a ten hour drive. The airport is pleased to see new markets and travel opportunities open up to the area, and we thank Elite Airways for expanding its service at Vero Beach Regional Airport,” said Airport Executive Director, Eric Menger.

About Elite Airways

Elite Airways LLC was founded in 2006 by airline veterans with the goal to provide passengers a better travel experience with nonstop flights, competitive prices and exceptional service. Elite Airways is a U.S. Part 121 Air Carrier and provides charter and scheduled service throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and South America.  The airline’s routes connect underserved communities with popular destinations that include New York City/Newark, Portland ME, Asheville NC, Orlando-Melbourne, Sarasota-Bradenton, and Vero Beach FL, and the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Headquartered in Portland Maine, Elite Airways’ maintenance operations center is located in Melbourne on Florida’s Space Coast. All scheduled flights are sold and operated by Elite Airways LLC, and available for purchase at or by calling 877-393-2510.

For Reservations: 1-877-393-2510                                                      

Customer Service: 321-265-5100 ext. 103                                          


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*Starting fare for a one way ticket. **For Elite Airways flights, the first checked bag and carry-on will be free, $50.00 for a second checked bag, and $75.00 for the third checked bag per person. Each checked bag weighing between 51 and 70 pounds will be assessed a fee of $25 in addition to the checked bag fee. Each checked bag weighing between 71 and 100 pounds will be assessed a fee of $100. Visit for more details on our standard baggage service fee schedule. Dates of the advertised flights are subject to change in accordance with regulatory requirements. See the TSA website for a list of prohibited items.

FLOURISH: Local Artists exhibiting in the newest show at Asheville Regional Airport Art Gallery

(Asheville, N.C.) The newest show at the Asheville Regional Airport Art Gallery opens to the public today. Flourish showcases fine art from four local artists in a variety of mediums.The exhibit is on display now through June 2017.

Noticed in the exhibit is acrylic brush work from Michelle Baker, hangings by fiber artist Karen-Eve Bayne, organic metal structures by Mark Olivari, and oils on canvases by Mari Lou Solares. 

Aptly suited to its name, Flourish lends itself to the welcoming of a new season in the Appalachian Mountains, by highlighting flourishing shapes, forms, and colors. The new exhibit tells a visual story through the arrangement of pliable fibers, rigid metal structures, and strategic brush strokes.

"The art gallery is truly a way for both the passengers and public alike to experience a taste of our region," said Alexandra Bradley, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at AVL and curator of the gallery. 

Artwork can be purchased from the gallery by emailing Artists who reside in any of the eleven counties within AVL's primary service market may apply for acceptance into upcoming exhibits. Details about the program, including application instructions, can be found on the airport's website at

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2016 was the third consecutive year of record passenger utilization at AVL

Asheville, N.C. – Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is reporting the highest number of annual passengers in its 56-year history, with enplanements up 5.6% (414,606) and deplanements up 4.5% (412,042), for a total of 826,648 passengers flying in and out of the airport in 2016.  This is a five percent increase over the previous record year, set in 2015, and sustains AVL as the fourth largest commercial service airport in North Carolina.

By the numbers:




Total Passengers









“We have experienced three consecutive years of record-breaking growth,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., AVL Executive Director.  “We have excellent air service available, provided by four airline partners, and travelers are choosing to fly from AVL.  The strong numbers are a reflection of the airlines’ success, our region’s economic strength, as well as the vibrancy of WNC as a tourism destination. I would like to personally thank our local travelers for their patronage and loyalty to our region’s airport.”

“The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority (GARAA) Board continues to focus on air service, infrastructure needs and development at the airport to best serve Western North Carolina,” said Bob Roberts, GARAA Board Chairman.  “And it is very positive to see continued strong utilization of our local airport.  The board will continue to stay focused on our mission to provide an exceptional airport experience.”

All four airlines at AVL – American, Allegiant, Delta and United – saw annual growth in passengers.  The largest growth in enplanements by percentage was experienced by Allegiant (12.5%) and United (8.5%), due to additional routes and increased frequencies to existing routes.  Specifically, Allegiant added less-than-daily non-stop service to three new destinations in 2016:  Jacksonville, Fla. (summer seasonal); Washington, D.C. via Baltimore/ Washington International (seasonal); and New York City via Newark Liberty International.  United increased flights and frequency of service to Chicago during peak travel times.  American and Delta both experienced growth, as well.

In response to recent growth trends, the airport is constructing a new five-story parking garage, slated for completion later this year.

“We are ready for continued growth, and look forward to a strong 2017,” said Bleiweis.  “We encourage our local travelers to continue to check AVL first for their travel needs, and we look forward to welcoming them to the airport soon.”

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The most recent economic impact study conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Division of Aviation showed that AVL contributes more than half a billion dollars annually to the local economy, and generates more than 1,700 jobs.  This economic impact will continue to grow as the airport grows. 

Student Artwork Showcase – Students (K-12) represent 6 WNC counties in exhibit

(Asheville, N.C.) The Student Artwork Showcase, part of the Art in the Airport program, is the newest exhibit at the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) Art Gallery. The exhibit will be on display until March 5, 2017. Select pieces will be chosen to remain on display through the end of the school year. Multiple counties across WNC are represented in this showcase, highlighting the creativity of students across our region. A variety of mediums and techniques are artfully exhibited by students from:

Brevard Elementary School
Brevard Middle School
Christ School
East Yancey Middle School
Hillandale Elementary School
​Junaluska Elementary School
Old Fort Elementary School
Tuscola High School
Waynesville Middle School
West Marion Elementary School

The variety of pieces range from colorfully imaginative drawings and collage pieces by kindergarten and first grade students to detailed paintings from high school seniors. The pieces were carefully selected by the art teachers from participating schools. 

"The art gallery is truly a way for both the passengers and public alike to experience a taste of our region," said Alexandra Bradley, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at AVL and curator of the gallery. 

Asheville Regional Airport's Art in the Airport program is pleased to feature an annual Student Artwork Showcase in its art gallery, highlighting the creativity of students across the region. If your school would like to participate in the next Student Artwork Showcase, please visit and click on Art + Music in the Social Hub to learn more.

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New short-term parking rates go into effect November 1, 2016

(Asheville, N.C.)  A parking garage construction project is underway at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), which has resulted in temporary changes to parking at the airport.  There is plenty of parking for passengers; however, the construction project has resulted in a temporarily reduced number of spaces for short-term parkers.  In order to discourage overnight travelers from parking in its short-term parking lot, and to insure parking availability for short-term users, AVL is changing short-term parking lot rates.  Specifically, the rate will remain at the current $1 for each half hour, up to four hours, to accommodate short-term users of the airport.  After four hours in this lot, a new flat rate of $25 per day will be charged. This fee change goes into effect beginning November 1, 2016.

Why the rate increase?  Long-term, overnight parkers are using the short-term spaces, leaving limited parking for visitors who only need to be at the airport for a short period of time, such as those who are picking up a passenger, or conducting business at the airport.

The fee change is intended to persuade long-term parkers to bypass the short-term lot and park in the long-term, pre-paid or credit card-only lots instead, where daily fees range from $6 to $8.  This, in turn, will insure that spaces in the short-term lot will be available to users who only need to park for a short time.

 “It is a positive step forward for the airport to construct a parking garage, but there are operational issues that we must address in the interim,” said Lew Bleiweis, Executive Director at AVL.  “One such issue is making sure all those using the airport – travelers and short-term visitors – have ample parking available to them.”

A new pre-paid, shuttled lot is located directly across the street from the main entrance.  Travelers may opt to park in this lot, pre-pay $6 per day for the planned duration of their trip, and a shuttle will deliver them to and from the front door of the terminal.  The shuttle is in operation around-the-clock.

Also available to travelers is the traditional long-term lot near the terminal, and the credit card-only lot past the terminal on the right.  Both of these lots are available for $1.50 per hour, up to a maximum of $8 per day.

And for those picking up passengers, a great option is to use a convenient cell phone waiting lot located past the terminal on the right.  There is no charge to park in this lot, but visitors must wait in their vehicles until their passengers arrive, and then exit the lot and drive to the terminal curb to pick up passengers.

The new fee structure for the short-term lot is temporary, and will be in effect until the new parking garage opens next year.  When opened, the garage will offer 1,100 convenient parking spaces directly in front of the airport terminal to serve all customers’ needs. 

Handicapped parking is still located in the short-term lot, directly in front of the terminal.  The fee for handicapped parking has not changed (long-term rate of $1.50 per hour, up to a maximum of $8 per day).  Visit the airport's parking information here.

Asheville Regional Airport Parking Fees




Short-term Lot

  • Up to 30 minutes = $1
  • Each additional 30 minutes = $1.00
  • Daily maximum (24 hours) = $12.50

  • Up to 30 minutes = $1
  • Each additional 30 minutes (up to four hours max) = $1.00
  • More than four hours = $25 per day

Pre-paid Lot

  • Daily Rate = $6.00
  • Weekly rate = $36.00 (7th day is free)

Long-term and Credit Card-only Lots

  • Up to 1 hour = $1.50
  • Each additional hour = $1.50
  • Daily maximum (24 hours) = $8.00
  • Weekly maximum = $48.00 (7th day is free)

Cell Phone Waiting Lot


Airport to begin construction on new parking garage

(Asheville, N.C.)  Asheville Regional Airport is pleased to announce that it will break ground on a five-story parking garage on October 3, 2016.  The construction of a parking garage is part of the airport’s master plan to meet the growing air travel needs in western North Carolina.

“The use of Asheville Regional Airport continues to grow,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director of Asheville Regional Airport.  “We have experienced two consecutive record years of passenger service, and 2016 has been another strong year so far.  It is time to move forward with our parking garage in order to continue to meet our passengers’ needs for years to come.”

Passengers have been requesting easy, level and covered walking access from the parking area, and the new parking garage will fulfill these requests and enhance the passenger experience.  The garage will be located directly in front of the airport’s main entrance, and will include a covered walkway from the garage to the terminal.  When completed, the garage will hold a total of 1,300 parking spaces, 200 of which will be used for the rental car agencies’ ready return service, which will be located on the lowest level of the garage.  The long-term lot furthest from the terminal will be closed. The construction project will take approximately twelve months to complete.

During construction, approximately 400 parking spaces will be displaced.  Passengers will have several parking options at the airport.  First, there will still be numerous spaces in the short and long-term lots available for customer use.  Additionally, the credit card lot, located just past the terminal on the right, offers 200 spaces, and a temporary lot with nearly 200 spaces directly across the street from the main entrance will be opened for passenger use.  This temporary lot will be a pre-paid lot, and will offer 24/7 shuttle service to and from the terminal curb.

The parking garage is a $22 million project, and capital funding was secured with a general indenture bond.  This type of direct placement bond is very similar to a loan, and was contracted directly between the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority and Raymond James Capital Funding, Inc., the lending institution.  The Airport Authority submitted Requests for Proposals for bond funding earlier in the year, and chose the proposal with the best interest rates and term.  The airport is not reliant upon local tax funds to operate the airport, nor for capital funding.  The bond is backed by projected revenues that will be generated by the parking garage, including lease and fees generated by the rental car agencies that use the garage.

During the next three weeks, passengers should not park in the footprint of the new parking garage if they plan to leave a car in the lot past September 29, 2016 at 5pm.  The footprint of the new garage will be clearly marked, and signs are now located at the entrance and throughout the parking lot detailing this requirement.  Cars that remain in the footprint of the new garage after 5pm on September 29 will need to be towed to a different parking location at the airport so construction may begin.

For more information about airport parking, including maps identifying each available parking area and the footprint of the new garage, visit

REVEALED: Airport art gallery unveils new exhibit highlighting local artists

(Asheville, N.C.) Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) art gallery unveils it's newest exhibit today. Revealed is an eclectic group of works highlighting four of our region's artists. The exhibit will be on display through January 6, 2016.

Featured in the Revealed exhibit, textured acrylic paintings on canvas by artist Walter Diehl, soldered glass and rock sculptures by artist R.C. Bob LaBerge, photography and encaustic on wood by artist René Roberts, and mixed media acrylic paintings by Tarah Singh.

The colors and textures seen throughout the exhibit are indicative of dream-like surroundings, expressing what is seen in the mind's eye or a memory. Those traveling through the gallery will be enticed to experience their own interpretation as each piece is revealed to them.

"The art gallery is truly a way for both the passengers and public alike to experience a taste of our region," said Alexandra Bradley, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at AVL and curator of the gallery. 

Artwork can be purchased from the gallery by emailing Artists who reside in any of the eleven counties within AVL's primary service market may apply for acceptance into upcoming exhibits. Details about the program, including application instructions, can be found on the airport's website at

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Allegiant announces new non-stop service to New York City from AVL

News release from Allegiant:


ASHEVILLE, N.C. June 28, 2016 — Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) today announces new, nonstop flights to New York City via Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). In conjunction with the new route that will launch just in time for the holiday travel season, the company is celebrating with a “Christmas in July” Facebook sweepstakes to give away seats on the route’s inaugural flight.* Allegiant is offering one-way fares on the new route for as low as $41.**

“We’re very excited to once again be growing in Asheville, a community in which our convenient, nonstop service has been very well received,” said Jude Bricker, Allegiant chief operating officer. “We know that a low-cost, nonstop flight option to New York City is something that local travelers have been asking for, and now they’ll be able to use these flights to travel to The Big Apple just in time for the holiday travel season.”

The new year-round flights will operate four times weekly and will fly nonstop between Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). Flights begin Nov. 17, 2016. The new route will add to Allegiant’s current nonstop service from Asheville to Washington D.C. and four cities in Florida including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando / Sanford, Punta Gorda and St. Pete / Clearwater

Additionally, Allegiant today launches its “Christmas in July” sweepstakes to provide 12 lucky winners with seats on the inaugural flight from Asheville to New York City for themselves and a guest. Local travelers who would like to enter to win can do so on Allegiant’s Facebook page at The “Christmas in July” sweepstakes is part of Allegiant’s ongoing $1 Million Summer, a promotion in which the company is giving away $1 million in airfare throughout the summer. For more information on Allegiant’s $1 Million Summer, visit

“Allegiant continues to grow in western North Carolina, and the addition of New York City on their route map is exciting,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director of Asheville Regional Airport. “We encourage area travelers to start planning holiday travel to New York, and we look forward to welcoming more visitors from The Big Apple, as well.”

Allegiant offers a unique travel option to Asheville travelers. Focusing on low-cost leisure travel, the company provides customers with low base fares averaging nearly half of the cost of the average domestic round-trip fare. Allegiant’s innovative business model has allowed the company to grow from one aircraft and one route just over a decade ago, to providing convenient, affordable service in over 100 communities nationwide.

*About the free flight sweepstakes:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Open only to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, and residents of any Canadian province not including Québec, 18 and older. Void elsewhere and where prohibited. Sweepstakes ends July 9, 2016. Subject to complete Official Rules at

**About the introductory one-way fares:

Seats are limited. Price includes taxes and fees. Fares are one way and not available on all flights. Must be purchased by July 1, 2016 for travel by Feb. 14, 2016. Price displayed reflects purchase by debit card; purchase by credit card subject to surcharge not to exceed $8 each way per passenger. See for details. For optional services and baggage fees, please visit Additional restrictions may apply.

About Allegiant

Las Vegas-based Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) is focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations. The airline offers industry-low fares on an all-jet fleet while also offering other travel-related products such as hotel rooms, rental cars and attraction tickets. All can be purchased only through the company website, Beginning with one aircraft and one route in 1999, the company has grown to over 80 aircraft and more than 300 routes across the country with base airfares less than half the cost of the average domestic roundtrip ticket. For downloadable press kit, including photos, visit: