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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 ( 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.