(Asheville, NC) In an effort to provide a safe, secure way for residents of western North Carolina to dispose of potentially dangerous expired, unused or unwanted prescription medications, Asheville Regional Airport Department of Public Safety and the Partnership for Substance Free Students in Buncombe County will host a drop-off event on Saturday, September 26 from 10a.m. to 2p.m. The region is invited to bring medications for safe disposal to the Department of Public Safety at the airport, located at 136 Wright Brothers Way, Fletcher, N.C. 28732 (parking is located in front of the building). The service is free, drop off will be quick and easy, and all drop-offs will remain anonymous. There will be no paperwork required and no questions asked. Officers will be on hand to accept the medications, which will then be gathered for safe disposal. “Prescription medications in the wrong hands – especially in the hands of our area’s young people or improperly disposed of in the environment – can be dangerous,” said Kevan Smith, Public Safety Chief at Asheville Regional Airport. “Part of our job as public safety officers is to partner with our regional agencies to make our area as safe as possible, and we are pleased to be able to participate in this important initiative.” Operation Medicine Drop is a state-wide program held in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s 10th Annual “Take Back” initiative. It is a coordinated effort by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Safe Kids North Carolina, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Bureau of Investigation, Riverkeepers of North Carolina and local groups to prevent accidental poisonings, substance abuse and to protect our waters. The drop-off event at the airport is one of several being offered in the region. For a complete list of events, visit www.ncsafekids.org. For more information, contact the Asheville Regional Airport Department of Public Safety at (828) 684-4577, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’ve flown recently, you may have experienced what so many AVL travelers have experienced for years: you quickly parked, zipped through check-in and walked right up to the security screener – no line to speak of. You may have made it to your gate just minutes after you parked your car, plopped into a rocking chair and sent your spouse to pick up a latte at the Blue Ridge Tavern. Nice! Yes, this experience does exist. Conversely, though, some travelers’ arrivals at the airport go something like this: “Oh, my goodness! Where am I going to park? There are no spots right up front. The lot is really full… Where are all of these people going?” Fifteen minutes later – after parking and walking to the terminal: “Oh, geez. Look at that ticket counter line! Good thing I checked in on-line. I’m heading straight to security…. Uh-oh. That IS the security line – all the way back here near the ticket counters. Oh, no. My flight leaves in thirty minutes. I hope this line moves quickly. Where ARE all of these people going?” Five minutes later: “How many people are ahead? Gosh – looks like there are about fifty people up there.” Five minutes later (frustration is building): “Can this line move faster? Come ON, people. Get those shoes off, pull out your laptop – get it ready for the bin… Move, move, move!” Five minutes later: “Come on, come on, come on… I’ve got a plane to catch! I hope they hold the plane for me.” (editorial note: Airlines will NOT hold the plane.)Five minutes later: “Ok. Getting closer – I might make it." Five minutes later: “Alright. Shoes and jacket in the bin. Laptop in its own bin. Liquids in my clear, zip-top bag in the bin. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go… I’ve got to board my plane.” Five minutes later: This traveler arrives at the gate and is the last to board her flight. She just made it. How does she feel? Relieved? Stressed? Frustrated? Angry? In this situation, this traveler (let’s call her “Lisa Latecomer”) allowed barely enough time to go through all the steps necessary to travel by air. If you count the minutes – from arrival and parking to boarding her plane, the process took about 45 minutes (not bad, really – a reasonable amount of time). BUT – she almost didn’t make it. What if those in the security line ahead of her were much slower about preparing themselves for screening? What if even more travelers had arrived at the same time to go through screening? (The line could have been longer.) There are a few things happening at AVL that travelers should be aware of:
More and more travelers are using the airport. In fact, the airport has served a record number of passengers in the past 12 months (which is great news for the airport, our region … and hey, thank you, travelers, for “flying local”!)
Airlines are using larger planes. That means more people arrive at the airport at one time to check-in for their flights. Hundreds more, sometimes, depending on flight schedules.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has adjusted staffing during peak travel times to screen the larger number of travelers as efficiently as possible. Even with two security lines operating, only so many passengers can be screened each hour, so when lines are long, waits will happen.
The TSA recently added a body scanner at AVL. This technology improves efficiency of security screening.
While TSA has not implemented a Pre Check line at AVL (this must be approved by the national Department of Homeland Security), if you are a registered Pre Check traveler, you will not have to remove your shoes, jacket or belt at AVL, which should help expedite the process.
We also know that now more than ever, there are many travelers boarding a plane for the first time – or the first time in many years – and they may not understand their role in the screening process. These inexperienced fliers may not know that they have to remove their shoes and jackets, pull their liquids from their carryon bag to place in the bin, or other requirements. And… please know we say this with understanding and kindness… these travelers can definitely slow the security screening process. So – we’ve decided to help educate them. Watch for fun signage at the airport that we hope grabs the attention of our travelers, and helps them prepare for screening while they are in line so when it’s time to be screened, the bins are ready quickly and the line moves more efficiently. Will you have to wait in a line the next time you fly from AVL? Perhaps. There are definitely still times when you’ll zip right in with lots of time to spare. But you can’t count on it. Instead, come to the airport early (we recommend two hours before your boarding time). Avoid the frustration and angst created by cutting it too close. Chances are you’ll enjoy our rocking chairs, our great food (and local beer and wine, too), the view of the runway and mountains, our free wifi, and you can even get a little work done in our quiet business center. And when you board your plane, you’ll be relaxed and ready to start your trip.
We know you, AVL website visitor. We know that when you visit our airport website, you come with a utilitarian purpose. Usually – you are here to check the status of a flight. Is the arrival or departure still on time? If not, how delayed will the plane be? We also know that you often play with a fun gizmo on our website called “Flight Tracker” – you know, it’s the map that shows where the airplanes are located in real time. You sometimes access our Frequently Asked Questions, or check flight schedules or rates for flights at our booking site. Yes, these are the most frequently accessed areas of our website – and now they look refreshed, brighter, and redesigned. Our new website has all the information you are accustomed to accessing, but we’ve also added to it in ways that we hope enhance your experience with AVL. We invite you to take a look!The Social Hub We’ve added a Social Hub. (Get it? “Hub?” Aviation terminology…) When you click on “Social Hub” (found in the main menu), you will be taken to an interactive area of the site where you can get “social” with us. Take a look! We’re on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. We always have some kind of contest in the works – we love to give away AVL gear, gift cards to local restaurants and stores, and sometimes even airline tickets! You never know what kind of crazy fun we’ll have up our sleeves. The Social Hub is also where you’ll find information about art and music in the airport. The artistic vibe of western North Carolina is such a huge part of the local culture, and we are always looking for ways to include a piece of that culture in the airport for passengers and visitors to enjoy. Artists and musicians in our area are invited to become a part of our Art+Music in the Airport program. You can also “Make Your Connection” (again, aviation terminology intended!). We invite you to share your feedback, take our survey or join our loyalty program. Community Connection A new page on our website highlights different ways your local airport connects with the community. We are a big part of western North Carolina, and take our role as an economic anchor organization seriously. We partner with numerous economic development organizations, as well as Chambers of Commerce. We engage with local aviation organizations, and also sponsor events that allow us to reach our regional travelers with information about the airport. The Easy Way. That’s us. With our website redesign, our goal was to make the information you need easy to find and easy to read – and all design choices were made with this in mind. We’ve also incorporated design elements that provide color contrast, meta descriptions and font choices that make navigation of our site easier for visually impaired visitors. Additionally, this new site is a “responsive” website. That means the content will change its look and orientation for easy viewing depending upon the device used to access the site (desktop, laptop, mobile phone, tablet). The size of the screen and its orientation (landscape or portrait) will determine the layout you see. The most robust and full view of the website will always be on a computer screen. Thanks for taking a minute to visit our new site. We hope you’ll connect with us, too. And, as always, thank you for checking AVL first when planning your next trip!
So, you’re about to embark on an exciting trip, one that begins at Asheville Regional Airport! We know you have a fabulous destination on your mind (New York? California? Italy? Peru?), and we also know that there are hard-working airport employees who are thinking about many other details that affect your trip. We thought it would be fun to give a little insight into what happens “behind the scenes” at the airport in one of our departments. Join us on a descriptive journey of your arrival at the airport, and the ways that our Information Technology team impacts your trip… You arrive at the airport and enter the parking lot at the mechanical arm gate. You press a button, and out pops a parking ticket. You pull the ticket, the gate arm lifts, and you proceed to your parking spot. Once you enter the airport, you pull out your smart phone, log on to the free wifi in the terminal, and open your e-boarding pass that was sent to you by your airline. You head to the ticket counter where you check-in your luggage. A bar coded ticket is attached to your bag, and off it goes into checked baggage wonderland. A quick glance at a mounted LCD screen shows that the weather is sunny and clear – a good day for a flight. You head to the security check-in. While in line, you look up at another flat panel LCD screen where flight schedules are posted. You check to make sure your flight is on time, and that you are headed to the correct gate. Once through security, you stop in at the restaurant to buy a cup of coffee and a king-sized Kit Kat, swiping your credit card before heading to your gate. At the gate, the ticket agent is checking the computer at the kiosk to ensure that everything is set for your flight while you catch up on news at one of the passenger televisions at the gate. All the while, the operations and public safety departments are monitoring the goings-on throughout the terminal with a computerized system. Upstairs, the administrative staff members of the airport are plugging away at their jobs, using computers, tablets and phones. The airport finances are being organized and tracked using an accounting software system. A new billboard is being designed at a graphic design station, and a construction project’s Auto CAD drawings are being updated. Documents of all kinds are being produced as part of the daily operations at the airport. And all the while, information safety and security is proactively administered. Across the airport campus, a construction project is underway. Thousands of feet of fiber and cable is being installed, an infrastructure component necessary for the upgrades coming to connectivity at the airport. The new airport entrance sign is being prepped for the installation of digital displays, with wireless management capabilities. Each of the scenarios illustrated here are areas in which the airport’s Information Technology team are involved. All of the airport’s information technology hardware and software is maintained, updated and supported by a team of IT specialists. The work this specialized team accomplishes each day touches every passenger, employee and visitor at the airport, and though they are often working “behind the scenes,” the airport couldn’t run smoothly without them. Now, before you scan your e-boarding pass on your way to your fabulous destination, how about using the airport’s free wifi to send a quick tweet? Use this hashtag: #airportITrocks!
(Asheville, N.C.) The Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority (GARAA) is pleased to announce the addition of two new board members, Stephanie Pace Brown and Matthew Burril. Brown was appointed by Asheville City Council and Burril was appointed by the Buncombe County Commission. Both attended their first board meeting on February 13, 2015. Stephanie Pace Brown is the Executive Director of the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau, leading a staff of 23 to attract overnight visitors to Buncombe County. Prior to joining the Asheville CVB, she served as President and CEO of the Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association in Alexandria, Virginia where she directed marketing and public affairs efforts for Mount Vernon. In addition, she worked as Research Manager for the Ohio Division of Travel and Tourism and as Director of Customer Research for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. Brown is currently a trustee on the board of the Travel & Destination Foundation, and her local service includes the Buncombe Cultural Alliance and the Asheville Area Riverfront Redevelopment Commission. Matthew Burril is President of BrickStreet Equity Management, a Registered Investment Advisor portfolio management firm located in Asheville. Matthew has 30 years of investment management experience and holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Georgia. Burril is a member of the Economic Development Coalition and a licensed pilot with over 4,000 hours of flight time. He has served on multiple boards including Better Business Bureau and United Way. "We are looking forward to having Stephanie and Matthew serve as the newest members of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board," said Bob Roberts, GARAA chairman. "Each bring excellent skills and expertise to the board, and their contributions will help us continue to govern the direction of one of our region's greatest assets - our airport." The GARAA is also served by Bob Roberts, Regional Executive Vice-President of First Citizens Bank & Trust Company and GARAA Chair; K. Ray Bailey, former president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and former Buncombe County Commissioner; Jeffrey Piccirillo, hospitality industry executive; Andrew Tate, President & CEO of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development; and William Moyer, retired attorney and former Henderson County Commissioner.
Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) served a record number of passengers in 2014: 378,124 passengers enplaned at the airport in 2014, and 378,301 passengers deplaned, an 11.5% increase compared to 2013, and a 2.3% increase compared to 2010, the previous best year on record. "We can attribute this growth to two key factors," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director. "We have been successful in our efforts to retain the important hub connectivity from AVL and in attracting new low-cost service to Florida. Also, the air travelers in western North Carolina continue to embrace their local airport, and fly from AVL as often as they can." During the past few years, airlines have changed their business models, and now work diligently to match flights and seats to what a market will support. They focus on connecting passengers from regional airports to major hubs, rather than flying point-to-point from smaller markets. Legacy carriers Delta, American (US Airways) and United provide two-thirds of the air service at AVL, connecting passengers with frequent daily flights to major hubs. At the same time, ultra-low-cost carriers have found an excellent niche in regions like western North Carolina. Allegiant Air entered the WNC market in 2011, focusing on selling vacation packages (including airfare) to popular destinations in Florida. In just over three years, Allegiant significantly grew its presence here and now offers a third of the airline seats at AVL. "One thing that is a constant in this industry is change," said Bleiweis. "An airport does not control the air service that is offered, but we do partner with airlines and work to support their success in our market. If an airline is successful, they will stay in the market, and that's what we want for them and for the air travelers in our region - the excellent connectivity we enjoy today." AVL was named the best connected non-hub airport in America in 2013, and has enjoyed continued growth since that time. Seats in the market have been strong, and a look ahead shows more airline seats being offered this spring and summer compared to 2014.
The airlines are continuing to reduce the number of smaller planes from their fleets, which means the reemergence of larger jets at AVL. Smaller planes worked well when jet fuel prices were very low. However, the price of jet fuel spiked several years ago, and ever since then, smaller planes are no longer as economically viable for the airlines. American (US Airways), Delta and United continue to offer service on 50-seat aircraft, but the frequency of these flights has declined slightly now that larger aircraft are back in the mix. American (US Airways) and Delta offer two-class service on many of the planes from AVL. Allegiant (the ultra low-cost carrier with five Florida routes from AVL) flies planes that seat 150 or 176 passengers. The trend will continue in which airlines will reduce the frequency of their 50-seat aircraft, replacing with fewer round-trips with larger aircraft. It’s all about economics and the most efficient way to fly from “point A” to “point B.” So the next time you book a flight from AVL and start to choose your seat, pay attention to that diagram of the airplane on your computer screen. It might be a little bigger than you anticipated.
Asheville Regional Airport is under construction, and no matter which way you look, dirt is being moved, roads are being paved or signs are being erected. Below is a brief overview of what’s happening at the airport. Project SOAR: on the west side of the airport The biggest construction project since the airport was built, Project SOAR will result in a new runway, a second taxiway and more than 40 acres of buildable land on the west side of the airfield. Right now, the land is being prepared for the construction of the new taxiway. Lots of fill material is being trucked to the site, and we expect the taxiway construction to begin by the end of the year. To find out more, click here. To the south: site preparation for a new gas station and convenience store The construction taking place adjacent to the south entrance of the airport – across from the WNC Ag Center and Fanning Bridge Road – is site preparation for a land tenant who is building a gas station and convenience store. To the north: NC Department of Transportation project The main entrance of the airport has been demolished, and is being relocated at this time. Why? The NC Department of Transportation (NC DOT) needed the land where the entrance was located to complete their reconfiguration of the traffic interchange on Airport Road. This new entrance will be located at the light across the street from The Fairfield Inn and the J&S Cafeteria. To the east: the “borrow pit” Directly across Airport Road from the terminal is what the airport calls its “borrow pit.” This is a parcel of land designated for future development. In order to prepare the gas station site at the south entrance, fill dirt was “borrowed” from this parcel of land to the east of the terminal. By removing dirt from this land, it is being leveled and prepared for future development.
(Asheville, N.C.) Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director of Asheville Regional Airport (AVL), has been elected chair of the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) U.S. Policy Board. By position, the US Policy Board Chair also serves as one of the five executive committee members of the ACI-NA board. He will serve a two-year term in this position. "Lew is a well-respected aviation leader who brings great expertise as chair of ACI-NA's U.S. Policy Board,” said Kevin M. Burke, president and CEO of ACI-NA. “As U.S. airports look toward next year's FAA reauthorization, the U.S. Policy Board will be tasked with developing forward-looking policies that promote airports as essential components of our nation's transportation system. We look forward to working with Lew in his new capacity as chair of this important group.” “I am pleased to serve as chair of the US Policy Board, and look forward to working with talented aviation colleagues around the country to impact the industry positively,” said Bleiweis. “The future of airports and aviation is strongly linked to decisions that are made in Washington, and it is important that airports have a strong voice in important policy decisions.” The ACI-NA’s mission is to advocate policies and provide services that strengthen the ability of commercial airports to serve their passengers, customers and communities. The ACI-NA represents local, regional and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports in the United States and Canada. Approximately 380 aviation-related businesses are also members of ACI-NA, providing goods and services to airports. ACI-NA’s members enplane more than 95 percent of the domestic and virtually all the international airline passenger and cargo traffic in North America.
Asheville Regional Airport’s main entrance will close permanently Wednesday, October 8. All traffic will then access the airport through the south entrance at the light near Fanning Bridge Road, and this traffic pattern will be in place through early 2015 when a new main entrance will open. Signs will be posted to direct traffic. The closure of the main entrance is due to a North Carolina Department of Transportation project on Airport Road. The airport’s main entrance will be relocated slightly south of its current location (at the light directly across from J&S Cafeteria and the Fairfield Inn), and is slated to open by January 2015.