AVL Announces new Non-stop flight to Philadelphia; returning flights to Tampa and Dallas/Ft. Worth

Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) is pleased to announce new non-stop service on US Airways to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) beginning May 8, 2011.

The flight will operate on Sundays, with varying departure times—all morning flights.

This will be the third destination offered by US Airways, which currently operates several flights a day to Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), and one daily flight to LaGuardia International Airport (LGA).

Also in May, AirTran will return its non-stop flight to Tampa International Airport (TPA), and will offer the flight four days each week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3:20 p.m. and Sundays at 2:37 p.m. The Tampa flight, previously a seasonal service, is now scheduled as a year-round service, and joins Orlando as the second non-stop destination provided by AirTran.

On June 9, American Airlines returns its seasonal flight from Asheville Regional Airport to Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW). The service will be daily, with a 4:30 p.m. departure time.

Asheville Regional Airport Wins Award for Best General Aviation Project

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) was awarded the General Aviation Project of the Year by the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives at their annual meeting in Mobile, Ala. last week.

AVL was recognized for its creative use of a regional partnership to efficiently, effectively and safely conduct a major fill project that created 15 usable acres of aeronautical use land on the airport campus, on the north side near Interstate 26. The fill project combined the resources and talents of multiple organizations to design and undertake an EPA-encouraged beneficial use program utilizing coal combustion by-products (called CCBs) for engineered-fill material. The project allowed the airport to import 840,000 cubic yards of CCBs from the nearby Progress Energy electric generating plant. This eliminated the need to utilize the earth’s natural resources while creating the additional acres of buildable land – all at a significant cost savings to the airport.

In the process of generating electricity, coal-fired power plants such as Progress Energy’s Asheville Plant, generate CCBs. As part of Progress Energy’s commitment to the environment, the company seeks to reuse the by-products in a safe and responsible manner. The airport’s fill project – which not only provided a location for the CCBs, but also did so while exceeding recommended environmental and engineering requirements – was a perfect match for the reuse of the material.

"The partnership between the Airport and Progress Energy was beneficial for us both. Progress Energy found an environmentally-sound way to reuse the coal combustion by-product, and the Airport saved millions of dollars in costs that traditional fill methods would have required," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. "The airport industry recognized that our project was a creative solution for all involved, and I am pleased with their recognition of our project."

The Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives consists of over 450 members from 12 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The association is guided by a nine-member Board of Directors, and is committed to promoting the professionalism and financial stability in the administration of airports. 

AVL Opens Cell Phone Lot

As part of its customer service initiative, the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) has opened a Cell Phone Waiting Lot for individuals visiting the airport to pick up arriving passengers. The Cell Phone Lot, which is free of charge, replaces the “first 20 minutes free” in the airport’s short-term parking area, with the major advantage being that there is no time limit in the new space.

The idea behind a Cell Phone Lot is that a guest may stay in the space as long as necessary, provided they remain with their vehicle. Once the guest is contacted by the arriving passenger, it’s easy to leave the lot and pull around to the front of the terminal to pick up the traveler.

“Excellent customer service is a top priority for us, and a Cell Phone Lot is certainly an added benefit for travelers and their loved ones,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. “The prevalence of mobile devices makes instituting this service a perfect next step for AVL, and we’re happy to add this convenience for our customers.”

Visitors to the airport will find the lot located past the main terminal and down the hill on the right side of Terminal Drive.

AVL hosts two-chamber Business After Hours, celebrates opening of a new gate area, security checkpoint, restaurant and bar

“We are constantly working to get new destinations because we know that’s what you want: You want good, low fares and you want non-stop flights,” said David Hillier, Chair of the Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board, from the podium at Thursday’s Business After Hours event hosted by the airport.

The event, attended by more than 300 Asheville Area and Henderson County Chamber members and elected officials, was held in celebration of the opening of a new gate area, security checkpoint, and restaurant and bar. The airport also kicked off a celebration of its 50th year of service in Western North Carolina.

Hillier continued his address to area travelers: “So now here comes the commercial. I want everybody to think ‘flyavl.com —repeat: flyavl.com.’ That’s your first stop when you’re looking for air travel out of the Asheville Regional Airport.” He also emphasized that strong use of air service locally helps lead to more options for air travelers. “You can help bring us more new non-stop destinations. Try flyavl.com – it would be great for all of us.”

Community leaders and members of the Airport Authority Board joined Hillier on stage for a ribbon-cutting and unveiling of a plaque dedicating the new space, all 21,000 square feet, to the travelers of Western North Carolina.

Of course, it wasn’t all pomp and circumstance. Thanks to the incredible food provided by the Blue Ridge Tavern and Chef Anthony Cerrato of Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana in Asheville, consulting chef of the airport’s new restaurant, guests of the event enjoyed custom creations like prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with bleu cheese, chicken pot pie, tiramisu, and other delicious treats. Highland Gaelic Ale and French Broad Ale were supplied by Skyland Distributing and Empire Distributing, respectively, and Biltmore Wines provided the wine selection.

The celebration also came at an appropriate time, as Asheville Regional Airport saw a record number of passengers in 2010—up 27% compared to the previous year. 

AVL to Hold Sealed-Bid Auction

Auction Information

When: March 2, 2011

Asheville Regional Airport Maintenance Facility
15 Aviation Way
Fletcher, NC 28732

Time: Viewing is 9 a.m.–Noon
Bidding is Noon–3 p.m. 


The Asheville Regional Airport Authority (“Authority”) will accept sealed bids for the authority’s surplus property listed with this attached notice on March 2, 2011. Viewing will be from 9 a.m. until noon at the Maintenance Facility located at 15 Aviation Way off Airport Road, Fletcher, NC. Sealed bids will take place from noon until 3 p.m. at same facility. Winners will be notified by phone. 

The Authority reserves the right to reject any or all bids. The Authority also reserves the right to not be responsible for any property bid upon or received. Bidding is done entirely at your own risk. 

All items must be picked up no later than Friday, March 4, 2011 at noon. If you have not picked up your winning item(s), they will be disposed of. The Authority is not responsible for any property left on premises. Please be prepared to pay for items at time of pickup. 

For a complete listing of items, please click here

For additional information, contact Kellie Whittemore, IT Coordinator, 828.209.3740.

New Airport Seating “Goes Green”

Fletcher, NC — “Our seats are in the upright and eco-friendly position,” reads a sign adjacent to the new gate hold area at Asheville Regional Airport. Last week, Asheville Regional Airport replaced its aging passenger seating with new chairs that are the first of their kind in American airports.

“Our passenger seating was in need of replacement, and in our bid process, we looked at a new product that had several positive attributes,” said Lew Bleiweis, airport director. The seating, manufactured by Zoeftig and sold under the brand “inFINITE Seating System,” is made with metal replacement technology, which uses much less energy than steel manufacturing. The environmentally-friendly manufacturing process was appealing to the airport, which is working to implement a more “green” environment over time. “In addition, the product is 100% recyclable, so when the time comes to replace this seating, we won’t be adding unnecessarily to landfills,” added Bleiweis.

But these chairs won’t need to be replaced any time soon. Another positive attribute of this new seating product is its longer life-span compared to other options. The seats are made of a material called “PU,” or urethane plastic, and are colored all the way through, which means the seats will not dull, scratch or fade, allowing for easier maintenance. Also, they won’t wear like traditional upholstery.

Additionally, unlike traditional airport chairs that are permanently connected to one another in various configurations which makes rearranging seating patterns difficult, the new seating system is completely modular. Seats can easily be reconfigured as new needs arise, which saves money and increases efficiency.

“We try to plan for the future in all decisions, and our choice of passenger seating is no different. Replacing 400 chairs is costly, and we feel very good about the decision to ‘go green,’ as well as to choose seating that will last,” said Bleiweis. “We’re the first airport in the United States to choose this product, and we feel we’re setting a good example in the industry.”

Jason Plaisted, Delta passenger visiting Western North Carolina from upstate New York, couldn’t agree more. “I noticed the chairs when I arrived at the airport – they’re different,” he said. And then he learned that the seating is an environmentally-responsible choice, and he was impressed. “I drive a Prius, and am a huge fan of anything ‘green.’ I didn’t know airports had such a thing as ‘green’ chairs, and I’m glad to see them. Whatever you can do to help save the environment is phenomenal.”

The new airport seating is one of the last installments associated with the renovation of the terminal, which opened to passengers in October 2010.

Celebrating its 50th year as an economic anchor organization in the region, Asheville Regional Airport is dedicated to advocating for needed routes and competitive fares for the air travelers in Western North Carolina. To compare fares, book a trip or to learn more, visit www.flyavl.com.

Celebrating 50 years, Airport announces record year of passenger growth, launches new website

Fletcher, NC — Fifty years ago, Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) opened its doors and its runway, beginning commercial passenger aviation services in Western North Carolina. In the first year of service, the airport hosted approximately 50,000 departing passengers. Now, fifty years later, Asheville Regional Airport is not only celebrating its golden anniversary, but also a record high number of passengers: 369,576 passengers departed from the airport in 2010, and 366,184 passengers arrived, a 27% increase compared to 2009.

“We can attribute this phenomenal growth to two factors,” said Lew Bleiweis, Airport Director. “First, we have been successful in our efforts to attract and retain new airlines, routes and competitive fares for our passengers. Also, though, Western North Carolinians are loyal to local businesses, and have shown through their use of the airport that many prefer to fly out of AVL. We will continue to advocate for and provide the services that travelers need and want, and hope to see more of our regional travelers walk through our gates in 2011.”

In an effort to enhance services for air travelers in the region, today the airport will launch a redesigned website (www.flyavl.com). The site is full of customer services, such as easy ways to book airline tickets, a service that identifies the best fares from Asheville Regional Airport, and a robust “frequently asked questions” section. In addition, the airport is very interested in feedback about its services, passenger experiences and perceptions about AVL. Residents of the region are encouraged to take the on-line survey (found on the website) – those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for a prize – an airline ticket voucher.

“We take our role as an economic anchor business in our region very seriously,” said Bleiweis. “It is important for the airport to continue to grow and thrive, which contributes to the overall economic vitality of our region. We are working diligently to continue to positively enhance the air traveler’s experience, and also to encourage travelers in our region to always check Asheville Regional Airport first in their planning. We look forward to a stellar fiftieth year.”

Celebrating its 50th year as an economic anchor organization in the region, Asheville Regional Airport is dedicated to advocating for needed routes and competitive fares for the air travelers in Western North Carolina.

AVL Deputy Director Named

Fletcher, NC – The Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) soon will welcome Mike Reisman as the new Deputy Director of Development and Operations. Reisman, who is leaving his position as the Greeley-Weld County (Colo.) Airport Manager, will begin at AVL on January 4.

“After an extensive nation-wide search for a new deputy director, I am very pleased that Mr. Reisman has accepted the position,” said Lew Bleiweis, AVL Airport Director. “His more than 23 years of experience in the aviation industry, evidenced by his professional successes in growing the Greeley-Weld County Airport during the past 14 years, will bring positive leadership to development and operations at Asheville Regional Airport. I am looking forward to working with Mike to continue to position AVL well for continued growth.”

Reisman is a former military air traffic controller, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in professional aeronautics with concentrations in aviation management and air traffic control technology. He has held management positions at the Richmond International Airport, the Fort Worth, Texas Department of Aviation, and most recently at the Greeley-Weld County Airport. He is a licensed pilot, a certified Aircraft Rescue Firefighter, and is professionally accredited by the American Association of Airport Executives.

Reisman’s most recent accomplishments as the manager of the Greeley, Colorado-based general aviation airport helped to position the organization for continued growth. Specifically, Reisman’s development expertise lead to growth in real estate acquisitions, which doubled the campus size and resulted in a 53% growth in private development projects. In addition, the airport realized a 72% increase in airport-based aircraft, and finally, Reisman lead the efforts to construct a 10,000 foot runway – a strategic move to position the airport well into the future. Over Reisman’s 14 year tenure at the Greeley-Weld County Airport, the facility’s annual economic impact on the local community increased by over 300 percent.

“I am looking forward to joining the team at the Asheville Regional Airport, and getting started in my new position. The facility has experienced impressive growth thus far, and has aggressive plans for continued growth and development. I am excited and prepared to become part of the team that will help lead the airport down a road of continued success.”

In addition to airport management, Reisman is avidly involved in community work, including five years of service on the Greeley, Colo. Chamber of Commerce board of Directors, and three years as chairman of the Chamber’s “Better Schools, Better Communities” committee. He previously served seven years on the Greeley Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, including as its Chairman, and is currently the immediate past-president of the Colorado Airport Operators Association.

Reisman has been married to his wife Cheryl for 19 years, and they have two children: Jacob (14) and Amy (12).

Construction Begins on New Concessions Area at AVL

Fletcher, NC – Passengers traveling through the Asheville Regional Airport over the next 12 weeks will notice the newly remodeled gate area under construction once again – this time for the new concessions that will begin operations in March, 2011.

The Paradies Shops, which has been named the nation’s “Best Airport Retailer” for 15 consecutive years and has also won the title “Concessionaire with the Highest Regard for Customer Service,” will feature a post-security restaurant with a full-service bar and regional microbrews, a CNBC retail shop, and a pre-security Travelmart, featuring Bruegger’s Bagels.

Construction will take place behind temporary walls in the main atrium of the new gate area (post-security) between December, 2010, and March, 2011. The project will not impact passenger travel, and all gates will remain operational and accessible to travelers. 

AVL Announces Flights to Destin, FL, on New Airline

Fletcher, NC – Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) is pleased to welcome a start-up airline offering low-fare flights to Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS) from AVL beginning April 1, 2011.

Vision Airlines, which is making its first foray into major commercial air service, plans to offer the AVL-VPS route on Sundays and Thursdays using 148-seat Boeing 737-400 jets.

“It is exciting for Asheville Regional Airport to welcome Vision Airlines to the region. Their service to the Fort Walton Beach and Destin, Florida, area will be our first non-stop beach destination—a great addition to our growing list of non-stop routes,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. “In addition, Western North Carolina is a popular vacation destination for residents of Florida, so we anticipate welcoming many visitors from the panhandle area on these new flights.”

AVL currently has commercial flights to ten cities on six major airlines, with connecting service to any destination in the world. Visit www.flyavl.com for more information about AVL and visit www.visionairlines.com to book a flight to Destin.