ATTENTION: Arrive AT LEAST 2 hours prior to boarding time.  

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Letter to the community from Lew Bleiweis, President + CEO



We have begun to welcome the first of our summer guests, and we know that many of you will begin vacations soon, potentially passing through Asheville Regional Airport. I wanted to take a moment to remind you about what is happening at your local airport. 


When we opened 63 summers ago in 1961, Asheville wasn’t so big and neither were we. But now, we are the third busiest airport in North Carolina and growing still. Today, six airlines operate at AVL and offer 27 nonstop destinations for all of you, and for our visitors as well.


To put our recent growth in perspective, in 2023, we were in the top 5 fastest growing airports in the US with a record-breaking 2.2 million passengers. It took us 57 years to get to a million passengers a year, but only five years to more than double that number. This is due in large part to many of you who continue to fly from AVL, utilizing the great flight schedules available right here at home.


There is much to be proud of, but I continually acknowledge that these accomplishments have also come with growing pains. The last few summers at AVL have been our busiest ever and our 63-year-old airport has reached its capacity. The new passenger terminal is needed, and we are building this complex project as quickly as possible. In fact, we began the initial planning more than five years ago, followed by about three years of design and engineering. Building a new airport terminal is a long process, and it is exciting to finally be in the construction phase.


We are calling our historic infrastructure project AVL Forward, which will result in a new terminal, 150% larger than the current airport. We will grow from 7 gates to 12 gates. Our new terminal will have gate hold rooms large enough to accommodate more passengers at one time, as newer airplanes visiting AVL hold more seats than the ones we welcomed just a few years ago. The ticket lobby, grand lobby, TSA checkpoint and baggage claim will all be more spacious. There will be more of everything: more boarding bridges, more concession options, more bathrooms, greater accessibility for our guests with special needs, and even relief areas for our four-legged passengers. 


The first phase of this project, the new north concourse, will be ready by Summer of 2025, and we know that can’t come fast enough for our community and our visitors. In the meantime, we must operate for one more summer in our temporary gate areas. We are continually working to provide ways to make your experience as smooth as possible. We also ask you to make a plan before you come to the airport. 


Arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to your flight’s boarding time. Getting to AVL with enough time is essential. 


Are you planning on parking at the airport? If so, decide which of our five parking lots work best for you (including our newest 600-space Shuttle Lot South). We now update our parking lot capacity in real time on our website homepage at If parking lots are at capacity in the days prior to your departure, we will open overflow lots. However, you may also choose to make plans with friends or family to drop you off or explore other ground transportation options that we have listed on our website.


The day of your flight, make sure you are checking in with your airline to ensure your flight is on time and give yourself plenty of time to arrive, check bags, and go through TSA screening before going to your gate. Remember, most airlines close their doors to boarding passengers fifteen minutes before departure and passengers are not allowed to board once doors close.


We’re working to streamline our airline check-in area and have staff and volunteers working during peak times to assist you. TSA PreCheck is a program that can greatly reduce your wait time in security lines. Consider this program if you qualify and travel frequently. The dedicated TSA team at AVL works to make screening as efficient as possible during peak times, but safety is always the number one priority. Ensure that you don’t experience unnecessary delays in the screening process. Check for a list of items that can be in checked baggage, but not carry-on bags, and a list of prohibited items.


And last, it’s important to remember that growth affects the airport, and also many of the airlines, restaurants and rental car providers that operate here. While we all work together, we all have different responsibilities. If a passenger experiences a flight delay, or an issue with luggage or a rental car, the passenger may think that the airport management team is responsible for providing that service. This is not the case – all businesses that provide service at the airport are independent and manage their own staff and operating procedures. The operations include handling flights, luggage, rental car reservations or providing restaurant or retail services. We communicate daily with our tenant organizations to ensure that disrupted operations are addressed, and that improvements are being made. Asheville Regional Airport always advocates for passengers and guests, and provides support and improvements in areas that we, as an airport, can control. 


We are so grateful that our community and travelers are joining us in our excitement about what’s to come. We ask that when you pack for your summer vacation you save some space for a plan and some extra patience. We promise we are working hard to provide our region with a new world-class terminal we can all be proud of, and I thank you for continuing to choose to fly from your local airport. Together, we will move AVL Forward!