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2021 was a year of significant recovery for Asheville Regional Airport; more growth on the horizon

(Asheville, N.C.)  The numbers are in, and Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) served 1.42 million annual passengers in 2021, which is 88% of 2019 (the airport’s record year), and 25% ahead of 2018 (the first year the airport served more than 1 million annual passengers).  Specifically, 1,428,266 passengers utilized a commercial flight at AVL last year, on one of these five airlines:  Allegiant, American, Delta, Sun Country and United.

2021 was a year of recovery from the devastating impact of COVID-19, not only on the airport and airlines that serve our region, but on airports and airlines worldwide.  Rebounded passenger numbers began in May 2021, and the airport experienced a record summer and achieved a new record month of passenger utilization in July 2021.

“The first thing I want to do is thank our local travelers for choosing to fly from AVL as they headed back to the skies,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director.  “And second, I want to thank our airline partners who have continued serving our region in significant ways, even during the major downturn in 2020.  The airlines are truly vested in our region, and we are continually grateful for the incredible air service we have and the airlines who provide it.”

2021 also was a year of new route announcements and new airline announcements at AVL.  Six new airport routes were added or announced in 2021 by four different airlines, with 25 nonstop destinations on the route map at year end.  In addition, two new airlines were announced in 2021:  Sun Country, who began service to Minneapolis/St. Paul in November 2021, and JetBlue, who will begin flying nonstop to Boston from AVL in June 2022.

Managing growth

“While we have been managing air service changes and our recovery, we’ve also continued our longer-term work to be ready for continued growth,” said Bleiweis.  “The team at AVL is committed to planning well for growth so our customers and business partners continue to have positive experiences.”

Currently, the airport is nearing completion of a new aircraft apron area south of the terminal that will accommodate parking for up to three additional planes.  A new terminal design is also nearly completed, and financing planning is underway.  The new terminal, when completed, will be more than twice the size of the current airport terminal, and will grow from seven gates and five loading bridges to twelve gates and twelve loading bridges.

An airport master plan update is also underway and will help guide the next 10-20 years of strategic growth planning.

The community is invited to sign up for the airport’s e-newsletter where detailed information is shared each month.  Learn more and sign up at www.flyavl.com.

Asheville Regional Airport continues to be one of the fastest growing airports in the country, with frequent daily flights to 24 nonstop destinations, including major international hubs offered by six airlines:  Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Sun Country and United.  For more information, visit flyavl.com.

# # # #

BY THE NUMBERS

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

ANNUAL PASSENGERS

1,428,266

704,972

1,616,762

1,134,568

956,634

% CHANGE YR/YR

103%

-56%

42.5%

18.6%

15.7%

 Other key highlights

2021 – Growth in nonstop destinations:  new or expanded routes started or announced

    • Boston – American (Saturday, summer seasonal); JetBlue (daily, summer seasonal) to begin in 2022
    • Destin – Allegiant (summer seasonal)
    • Key West – Allegiant (twice weekly, year-round)
    • Las Vegas – Allegiant (twice weekly, year-round)
    • Minneapolis/St. Paul – Allegiant and Sun Country (twice weekly, year-round)
    • Washington, D.C. – American (daily, summer seasonal) 
  • Year-round, frequent daily service to major international hubs
  • Served by five airlines in 2021:  Allegiant, American, Delta, Sun Country and United
  • A sixth new airline announced:  JetBlue, coming June 2022 (nonstop to Boston currently for sale)
  • AVL contributes nearly $1.5 billion in economic impact annually