AVL’s economic impact is nearly half a billion dollars

(Asheville, N.C.) Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) contributes close to half a billion dollars annually to the western North Carolina region, according to a recent economic impact study by The Institute for Transportation Research & Education at North Carolina State University. “This is important information to share with the communities we serve,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director, “Asheville Regional Airport is important to our region for more reasons than air travel. It’s a key driver of jobs, local spending, tourism and economic development.”  (more…)

AVL Holds Open House for Master Plan Development

The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority (GARAA) is holding a public open house on February 25, 2012 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM in the GARAA Board Room. This is the second and final open house opportunity for members of the community to learn about the airport master plan study and its impact on the future development of the airport. (more…)

Airport welcomes six regional schools to perform “Sounds of the Holidays”

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is pleased to welcome six regional school choral groups to the airport during the holidays. The choirs will perform holiday music for the enjoyment of passengers, visitors to the airport and employees.

“The holidays are a perfect time of year to focus on what’s positive around us,” said Tina Kinsey, director of marketing and public relations. “The Airport is looking forward to welcoming talented youths from our region to share holiday cheer through music.” (more…)

Second annual Runway 5K and Aviation Day will offer fun for all ages

The Asheville Regional Airport Runway 5k + Aviation Day, taking place on Saturday, October 6, is nearing, and all signs point to an even bigger event this year.

In last year’s inaugural event, approximately 750 people ran a portion of the runway followed by a race along the road in front of the airport terminal. After that, several thousand event attendees joined the racers at a festival that took place next to the runway. (more…)

Airport Department of Public Safety Issues Consumer Fraud Alert

The Greater Asheville Regional Airport is alerting the public about a pet scam involving bogus purchases and false claims that animals are being detained at the airport.

The pet scam involves online ads or unsolicited e-mails that offer to sell and ship pets — such as puppies, birds and monkeys — from overseas. After the buyer purchases the pet, the seller requests additional money, frequently claiming that the pet is sick and is being held at the airport until it receives vaccinations needed to pass through customs. The scam victim often pays the additional money and contacts the Asheville Regional Airport for details about obtaining the pet. There is no customs facility for pets at the airport. (more…)

Non-stop Fort Lauderdale flights will begin in November

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is pleased to announce that Allegiant Airlines will begin non-stop service to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. beginning November 15. The low-fare carrier will offer flights twice weekly on varying days.

"Fort Lauderdale is one of the most requested routes by members of our region, and the team at Asheville Regional Airport has been diligently advocating for non-stop service to South Florida for several years," said Lew Bleiweis, Executive Director. "We are pleased to welcome the non-stop to Fort Lauderdale at Asheville Regional Airport, offered by a great partner of ours – Allegiant Travel Company. Allegiant is a low-fare air carrier, but even more than that – Allegiant offers excellent deals on full vacation packages in their destination markets – which now includes direct access from AVL to Orlando and South Florida."

The new flights will give western North Carolina residents an easy way to get to south Florida, but just as important, will provide a low-cost and easy way for south Florida residents to visit the mountains. "Air service is important to the economic vitality of our region, and impacts our tourism market," said Bleiweis. "Our data shows that there is a significant relationship between our area and south Florida, and this new service will help western North Carolina welcome even more visitors from Florida to our region, who will use our hotel rooms, eat at our restaurants, and contribute to our local economy. That’s a big part of what air service development at AVL is all about."

To view flight schedules or to book a trip, visit allegiant.com.

Asheville Airport Installs New Passenger Boarding Bridges

Passengers traveling through Asheville Regional Airport will soon experience a marked upgrade in the boarding process in the gates 4−7 area. The airport is in the process of installing new passenger boarding bridges, an improvement that allows larger aircraft to park at those gates and also shelters passengers from the elements.

"The new bridges offer several improvements, including the ability to handle main line aircraft such as 737s and MD80s, and the largest of the three new gates will be able to accept a 757," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director. "Some of our gates were already equipped with these types of bridges, and this project brings several gates at the north end of the terminal up to the same level."

The $1.7 million project was paid for primarily by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grant funds. Each year the airport receives approximately $2.3 million in project funding through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Congressman Heath Shuler supported the successful grant application, making it possible for AVL to make needed boarding bridge replacements.

"I am very pleased the FAA has awarded this important funding to the Asheville Regional Airport," Rep. Shuler said. "This grant will help the airport make necessary improvements to expand and upgrade its facilities, which in turn will improve economic development opportunities for businesses and travelers in Western North Carolina."

The first of the three bridges will be operational early this month and work will continue on the remaining two, with all three in operation by the end of the year.

Airport board and management pleased with legislation

Legislation changing the governance structure of Asheville Regional Airport was passed by the North Carolina general assembly on June 28, 2012. The legislation changes the current structure of the Asheville Regional Airport Authority from a joint governmental agency comprised primarily of Asheville City and Buncombe County appointees to an independent, state-sanctioned governing body. The independent airport authority will go into effect on July 1, 2012.

The Asheville Regional Airport board and management team are pleased with the legislation, and see this as a natural next step in the growth of the region’s airport structure. As was the long-term vision of early leaders, Asheville Regional Airport has truly grown to be a regional entity – a true success. In 1979, the Asheville Regional Airport Authority was established as a joint governmental agency by the City of Asheville and the County of Buncombe for the purpose of maintaining, operating, regulating and improving the Asheville Regional Airport. This was a natural step for the organization at that time – moving from a department of the City of Asheville to a joint governmental agency. Growth and regionalization have continued to occur, which have propelled the organization to another milestone: its designation as an independent authority.

Lew Bleiweis, Airport Director, has seen airport governance move in this direction in recent years. "The airport industry is a cornerstone of the nation’s travel infrastructure, and we have experienced significant change in the past few decades. Independent airport authorities are emerging more and more, due in large part to operational efficiencies that can be realized." In particular, the new independent airport authority structure at AVL will allow the Authority greater flexibility in property acquisition and development – key to an airport’s continued growth and success. Also, grant applications, development of long-term leases, and non-aviation related business development will be more efficiently implemented.

"This legislation is a positive one for the airport and the region," said David Hillier, Asheville Regional Airport Authority board chairman. "Our legislators’ support of this law recognizes the fact that AVL is in fact a regional economic engine. It is time for our governance structure to match what we have become."

A brief history about Asheville Regional Airport:
In 1958, the City of Asheville passed a $1.2 million bond referendum. The primary purpose of the referendum was to purchase land for new commercial airport. The on-going long-term economic impact to the region – through the attraction of new businesses, support of tourism and addition of jobs to the area – was the desired return on investment for this expenditure.

Because of the continued positive economic impact of the airport to the region, Buncombe County passed bond referenda that provided $8 million for airport expansion/improvements in the 1990s. Also, through the 50 year history of the airport’s existence, millions of dollars of state and federal grant funds have been provided to improve the airport. Today, Asheville Regional Airport serves approximately 750,000 commercial passengers each year, the most by far in its 50 year history.

Historic Ford Tri-Motor Airplane Pays a Visit to Asheville Regional Airport

A restored 1929 Ford Tri-Motor aircraft owned and operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) will be on site at the Asheville Regional Airport June 7 – 10. The historic airplane is visiting Asheville as part of limited-stop tour of the Eastern U.S. and will be offering rides to the public.

Rich with history, the 9-seat Tri-Motor plane — nicknamed “The Tin Goose” — has served as a passenger transport plane, an aerial fire-fighting aircraft, a crop-duster, and has even served as the primary setting for a Jerry Lewis film. Now it has been fully restored and will be stationed near Landmark Aviation, Asheville Regional Airport’s fixed-base operator, at the north end of the airport campus.

Flights are $80 per person and will take place June 7, 2 – 5pm, and June 8, 9 and 10, 9am – 5pm.

For more information or to book a flight, visit www.flytheford.org or call 1-877-952-5395.


Airport Authority Board Approves City of Asheville Firehouse Recommendation

The Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) Board approved the City of Asheville’s recommendation regarding a fire station located in the Airport Road corridor. After a nearly a year of discussions regarding options for the project, the City accepted as the most viable option the Airport Authority’s proposed use of the public safety facility currently utilized by the airport. ARAA is moving forward with the design and construction of a new public safety building, which will leave the current facility vacant and available for use by the City.

"We are pleased to be able to offer our existing public safety building to the City in support of their efforts to most efficiently locate a fire station in the Airport Road area," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. "Our joint efforts over the past several months have resulted in a solution that is beneficial for both the City of Asheville and the airport."

Airport management will continue to work with City officials as progress is made on the new airport facility, which is slated for completion late summer, 2014.