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Asheville Regional Airport experienced the highest number of annual passengers in its history in 2017

(Asheville, N.C.)

The numbers are in, and Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) annual passenger numbers were at their highest ever in 2017. Specifically, 956,634 passengers used the airport in 2017, compared to 826,648 in 2016, which is a 15.7% increase. 2017 was the fourth consecutive record year of passenger utilization, and the annual numbers are more than 50% higher than they were just five years ago.

"The airport has been growing during the past few years, and 2017 was especially significant," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director. "The airlines expanded their services with larger planes and more seats and frequencies to existing destinations, and a new airline and route was also added. Equally important, our region's travelers continued to use their local airport."

"On behalf of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board, I would like to thank western North Carolina travelers for flying from their local airport," said Bob Roberts, Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority Board Chair. "When travelers make the decision to use their local airport, they contribute to the overall strength and vitality of the region at large. Much of the credit for the continued growth at AVL goes to our local communities, and we thank you."

Additionally, western North Carolina's recognition and significant success as a prime tourist destination has been key to the airport's utilization and air service growth.

Managing growth

The airport is working diligently to manage growth. On the horizon are plans to expand the Transportation Security Administration screening area from two lanes to three. The airport is also in discussion with the TSA regarding implementation of TSA Pre-check.

Additionally, a new five-story parking garage is now open, which provides ample close-to-the-terminal, convenient covered parking for travelers.

Last, the airport is beginning an extensive terminal assessment study to determine infrastructure and spatial needs to serve growing numbers of people now and into the future. Once the study is complete, next steps will be identified.

Highlights: Airline Statistics

Allegiant Air                       

20% more seats in the market compared to 2016, including first full year of nonstop service to Newark, NJ

American Airlines            

10% more seats in the market compared to 2016

Delta Airlines                    

1% growth in load factor compared to 2016

Elite Airways                     

New airline in 2017 serving Vero Beach, FL

United Airlines                 

87% increase in seats in the market compared to 2016, primarily driven by Newark year-round, daily service (increased from a seasonal route) and increases in frequency of flights to and from Chicago