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HOW DOES AN AIRPORT PLAN FOR GROWTH?

We don’t control which airlines serve our airport, what routes they fly and the prices they charge for their tickets.

We don’t know how many passengers will fly next month, where, or how much they will pay for their plane tickets. 

We don’t have a crystal ball. 

But – we do have planning tools.  Airports use a number of tools to understand growth patterns, possibilities and forecasts.  And we use tools to plan for the future.

Asheville Regional Airport is in active planning now, as we continue to see significant growth in the utilization of our airport.  Specifically, we are conducting what’s called a “terminal assessment study.”  In essence, we need to know what changes we need to make to our physical space in order to adequately accommodate growth in the immediate and long-term future.

But how do we conduct such a study?  We work with qualified professionals who can assess many things, and give us quality, educated forecasts related to our needs.

Specifically, we have aviation consultants who study data such as historic passenger trends, what is happening in the airline industry relating to growth, airline fleet plans, historic and projected population growth in our primary market area, and other information to forecast possible passenger growth in the short, mid- and long-term future.

This information is used to assess aircraft and passenger utilization of our airport’s physical space, also in the short, mid- and long-term future. 

Do we have enough aircraft parking space?  Is our airfield prepared for the mix of airplane fleets that will be used in the future?  What about the terminal – is our gate space large enough?  Do we have enough restrooms, is our security screening area large enough, and what about the utilities to support our infrastructure?  These questions can also be answered by qualified engineers and other professionals.

By identifying a projected forecast of growth, using available data, information and expertise, we can confidently plan for the future.  And we are looking forward to the next steps in our work to ensure western North Carolina’s airport is poised and ready for continued air service expansion.