(Asheville, N.C.) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has released its annual list of all commercial service airports in the country, ranked by numbers of passenger enplanements. For the first time, Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) ranked as the third busiest airport in North Carolina, behind Charlotte Douglas International Airport (busiest) and Raleigh Durham International Airport (second busiest).
AVL has fully recovered from the pandemic and has surpassed former utilization records nearly every month this year. So far this year, passenger numbers are more than 10% ahead of the same period in 2019, the airport’s record year.
“We have never seen such high numbers at AVL,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., President and CEO of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority. “The growth is phenomenal, and it is continuing. If passengers continue to fly to and from AVL at the pace we’ve been experiencing, 2022 will be the biggest year in our history.”
The FAA ranks the commercial service airports in the country each year according to passenger utilization. Asheville Regional Airport is ranked 104 on the list of 478 commercial service airports in the U.S.
The growth at AVL can be attributed to three key factors. First, airlines have continued to make significant investment in the western North Carolina market by adding new routes, seat capacity and by new airlines entering the market. Second, the region continues to grow – with increases in local business and leisure travel, as well as a tourism destination that draws visitors from around the globe. And third, the strength of the economy is contributing to the growth.
The airport board and management team continue to implement strategic plans to successfully address the growth and the “growing pains” associated.
Parking options have expanded, with a new addition to the Shuttle Lot and a new Cell Phone Lot now open. Plans are underway to open another remote Shuttle Lot by Thanksgiving, and a third remote lot with more than 400 spaces opened within the next year.
The terminal building and aircraft operating areas are also getting a major expansion, with construction slated to begin in 2023. This project will be the biggest and most significant in the airport’s history and will result in a terminal building twice the size of the current airport, and more aircraft operating area to accommodate future growth.
Asheville Regional Airport continues to be one of the fastest growing airports in the country, with frequent daily flights to 25 nonstop destinations, including major international hubs offered by six airlines: Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Sun Country and United. For more information, visit flyavl.com.
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