Author: Alexandra Bradley

Student Artwork Showcase – Students (K-12) representing five WNC counties


(Asheville, N.C.) The Student Artwork Showcase is now on display in the Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) Art Gallery. Ten schools from five western North Carolina counties are  included in the exhibit. This showcase is a representation of our colorful region and WNC's talented students. The students' work will be on display through April 22, 2018. 

The following schools are represented in the showcase:

Asheville School

Brevard Elementary School

Brevard Middle School

The Franklin School of Innovation

Glenn C. Marlow Elementary School

Mills River School

Old Fort Elementary School

Charles D. Owen Middle School

Rosman High School

Waynesville Middle School

Many different mediums are on display, including sculpture, paintings, drawings and more, by students ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade. The pieces were chosen and submitted by the art teachers from the participating schools. 

"The art gallery is truly a way for both the passengers and public alike to experience a taste of our region," said Alexandra Bradley, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at AVL and curator of the gallery. 

Asheville Regional Airport's Art in the Airport program is pleased to feature an annual Student Artwork Showcase in its art gallery, highlighting the creativity of students across the region. If your school would like to participate in the next Student Artwork Showcase, please visit and click on Art + Music in the Social Hub to learn more.

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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.

American Airlines will offer nonstop service to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport from AVL in summer 2018

(Asheville, N.C.)

Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is pleased to announce that American Airlines will reinstate nonstop service to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) this summer. Nonstop flights will be offered Saturdays, beginning June 7, and are planned to operate through August.

"It is very good news for air travelers that a nonstop option will be available this summer," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director. "The Dallas area is a top destination market for our area's travelers, and the nonstop option will help make travel even more convenient and easy to and from AVL."

American offered summer seasonal nonstop daily service to DFW in 2010 and 2011, and then discontinued the route at the time the airline was merging with U.S. Airways. A reinstatement of a nonstop option to DFW is an indicator of the airline's confidence in the western North Carolina market.

The airport encourages travelers to book the nonstop flight, because success of the Saturday service could lead to an extension or expansion of nonstop flights to DFW in the future. And as a reminder, when not traveling on a Saturday, American does offer frequent daily connections to DFW from AVL through Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which is also a convenient and easy option.

Additionally, DFW is a gateway to numerous west coast, Latin America and Asia destinations – many of which are only offered by American Airlines.

To book a ticket, visit

Asheville Regional Airport has experienced three consecutive years of record passenger utilization, made possible by airline service and growth. AVL is one of the top-five fastest growing small hub airports in the country, offering connections to hundreds of world-wide destinations, usually with one easy connection.   For more information about Asheville Regional Airport, visit

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From local travel enthusiasts, to national and international gurus – Speaking of Travel shares stories that prove how magical travel can be. 

Host Marilyn Ball broadcasts each week on News Radio WWNC 570 (Sundays at noon) and 880 The Revolution (Saturdays at 1pm).    You can also tune in from anywhere in the world by downloading the iHeart Radio app.

Asheville Regional Airport is proud to sponsor this show because we agree that travel can be amazing.  We also get the opportunity to share fun travel tips on each show.  Plus, speaking of travel, we truly are western North Carolina’s gateway to and from the world!

Tune in soon – and as they say on the show… no passport required!


Can you travel with your medications?

 A common question, and we’ve got the answer!

The big green pill every morning, a teaspoon of the liquid medication at night… Perhaps a dose of oxygen as needed.  Health issues almost always come with a host of medications that can take away pain, help us breathe, lower our blood pressure, regulate a heartbeat, or help us manage even more critical issues.

So what do you do when you need to pack up and go?  Can you board an aircraft with your mini-pharmacy in tow?

The short answer is “yes.”  If you have been prescribed medications, you can certainly bring them with you on an airplane – and you should! 

However, there are a few simple rules to follow in order to bring the medications you need on the plane.  These rules can be found in full on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website (, but for the purpose of this article, here are the highlights:

  1.  While not required, it is a good idea to bring a copy of your prescriptions with you.  In the case that there are questions, it is better to have the information handy. 
  2. You know that pill box that helps you keep everything organized for each day of the week?  Leave it at home, or bring an empty one with you to fill once you arrive at your destination.  Your medication should be in its original container with your name on the outside – applied by the pharmacy where you purchased the medication. 
  3. Keep all medications together and easily accessible in your carry-on luggage.  It is a good idea to place them in a transparent bag, a one-quart sized storage bag if possible.
  4. Be ready to declare your medications at the security check-point.  If your doctor has told you that your medication cannot go through x-ray screening, let the TSA staff know that your medication will need a different type of inspection. 

A note about a related topic – medical devices.  Any snorers out there who don a c-pap mask at night to help you breathe better?  Be sure to declare any medical devices in your carry-on luggage before you go through screening.  The TSA staff will guide you through the screening process.

If you are using an external medical device that is connected to your person, such as a neurostimulator, port, feeding tube, insulin pump or other device, please let the TSA staff know about it and where it is located.  You may also, ahead of time, visit, and complete and print a TSA notification card that describes your condition.  This is a tool available for your use, should you feel more comfortable giving information in written format.

While not all-inclusive, this information is a good start to understanding what you need to do in order to bring your medications on-board an aircraft.  Before your trip, consult the TSA website for more specific information about your specific items.


When you take a flight to a nearby hub or sunny destination, you might notice that your aircraft always makes more turns than you’d think are necessary on the way. In fact, it’s almost unheard of for a commercial flight to fly in a straight line to its destination. So if the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (you’re welcome, math geeks), why are thousands of airplanes flying out of their way to get to their destinations? The answer lies in flight planning and air traffic flow.

Before a commercial flight takes off, the crew must file a flight plan. This plan shows the route the aircraft will take from the departure city to the arrival city — kind of like setting the GPS navigation for a road trip. Similarly, in the same way that cars use roads to reach their destinations, aircraft must spend the majority of a flight along pre-planned routes.

There is a system of organization that allows thousands of aircraft to share the skies safely; it includes airways, which aircraft follow in the sky, and specified points (kind of like invisible signs) that guide the aircraft, called fixed navigational aids (or navaids for short) and waypoints. Navaids are ground-based devices that have radio signals aircraft can pick up on. Waypoints are geographical points on the earth, with no physical device on the ground, that are loaded into the GPS systems of all commercial aircraft. All navaids are considered waypoints, and each waypoint has a 5-letter identifier that can be pronounced phonetically. One waypoint identifier that exists here at Asheville is “TUXDO,” pronounced “tuxedo.”

Every airway has its own name (just like Route 66 or I-40) and its own type (like interstates, highways or back roads). Airways below 18,000 feet (and that run directly between navaids) are called victor airways and those above 18,000 feet are called jet routes or jet airways. Newer airways that don’t run directly between navaids are called Q or T airways. Each airway is named by its corresponding letter (V for victor airways, J for jet airways and so on) and a number. For example, a flight plan that calls for the use of Jet Airway 6 will simply show J6.

In situations where there’s no suitable airway for a flight to follow, like extremely short flights or the switching of airways that don’t intersect, the flight plan will go from one waypoint to another directly.

One interesting fact about air traffic flow is that all westbound flights fly at even numbered altitudes (like 36,000 feet) and eastbound flights fly at odd numbered altitudes (15,000 feet, for example).

In addition to flying along airways and between waypoints, aircraft entering and departing a busy airspace (such as Atlanta or Chicago) have to fly very specific arrival and departure routes known as Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) and Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs). Like on-ramps and off-ramps on the highways of America, these routes exist to safely and efficiently flow lots of aircraft into and out of busy airports.

SID and STAR procedures are usually named after one of the waypoints within their routing and in many cases are creatively named with local relevance. Atlanta, for example, has a route named JCKTS 9, paying homage to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and a route named “WARRR 1,” which overflies the campus of Auburn University, which has long used the saying “War Eagle.” You’ll notice that your flight into a hub city often takes a few minutes longer than the flight back to AVL because the STAR procedure into the hub typically requires a little extra flying to get all aircraft into one continuous line toward the runway.

In this example of an Allegiant flight from AVL to Baltimore (BWI), you can see that the flight plan took the aircraft on a slightly curved route, which was about 80 miles longer than flying directly to BWI. Looking at the flight plan, next to “route,” you can see that the flight departed and made an immediate turn to the LUMAY waypoint, where it joined the Q58 airway and flew to the PEETT waypoint, where it then went directly to the THHMP waypoint to begin the RAVNN6 arrival into BWI. Whew! For the sports fans out there, we’d like to point out that the portion of this flight that began at THHMP was part of the Raven 6 arrival, which was named after the Baltimore Ravens football team.

As intricate as all this routing information may seem, most flights can upload a flight plan to the aircraft’s computers with the push of a button. Most airport pairs have a pre-set list of routing options depending upon the location of those two airports. There is typically a primary option and various backup routings for different weather situations en route.

Airports in less busy airspace do not have SID and STAR procedures unless issues, such as terrain (like mountains) require aircraft to fly in specific areas near the airport. When you fly from AVL you can bet that you’ll be flying a STAR when your flight approaches its destination and a SID when you leave that airport to return home.

Record passenger numbers continue: July 2017 was the first-ever 100,000 passenger month at AVL

(Asheville, N.C.)

July 2017 was the busiest single month on record at AVL – for the first time in the airport's 56-year history, more than 100,000 passengers used the airport in one month. Specifically, 100,998 passengers were served by five airlines: American, Allegiant, Delta, Elite and United, an 11.6% increase compared to July 2016. Year-to-date, passenger numbers are up 15% compared to 2016 – setting the pace for another record year.

"We have experienced three consecutive years of record passenger use," said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., executive director, "And the trend is continuing. It is exciting to see the airlines add service and seats in our market, and equally positive that travelers are using those services. The success is good for the airlines, good for the airport, and most importantly – very positive for our travelers. AVL continues to be one of the best connected regional airports in the U.S."

Growth at the airport can be attributed to several factors. First, the airlines continue to add seats in the market, and these seats are being used. The planes are full, and the demand for air service is outpacing the supply. Asheville and western North Carolina continue to grow as a popular destination, and the passenger numbers reflect this fact.

"I would like to thank area residents for continuing to use their local airport," said Bleiweis. "We are proud to be the local gateway to and from the world, and are ready for continued growth."

Asheville Regional Airport is nearing the completion of Project SOAR: Significant Opportunity for Aviation and the Region – an $80 million, four-plus year project resulting in a new (replacement) runway and additional taxiway to serve the region's aviation needs for decades to come. A 1,300-space parking garage is also under construction, and will be open by Thanksgiving.


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Every Tail Tells a Tale

In another story, we correlated a flight’s radio call sign to a person’s nickname. The call sign doesn't belong to the airplane, it belongs to the flight that aircraft is operating; Delta 2308 for example. A call sign can be used by various planes in a single day, such as when one flight number has multiple segments (a segment is a single flight between two cities). If a call sign is a nickname, an aircraft’s tail number is its legal name.

A tail number is an alphanumeric code between two and six characters in length used to identify a specific airplane. The alphabetical prefix of a tail number is indicative of an airplane’s country of origin. All United States-based tail numbers begin with “N,” Canadian planes begin with “C,” German with “D” and so on. The remaining numbers and letters are generally at the discretion of the owner, but in most cases will consist of a string of three numbers followed by two letters. Many airlines have a certain amount of continuity in the way their tail numbers end. Delta, for example, has hundreds of tail numbers that end in “DL,” “DN,” or “DE.” The picture to the right shows the tail number of a U.S. registered Delta jet, N904DE. Most airlines use an abbreviation of the company name, one of the airline’s identification codes, or an abbreviation of the leasing company that owns the aircraft.

All civilian aircraft must be registered with the aviation authority in its country of base, just as a newborn baby is given a name and social security number. For example, all airplanes based in the U.S. must be registered with the FAA. Every airplane has its own unique tail number, from the moment it’s assembled until that aircraft is retired and scrapped. Like a name, an aircraft’s tail number can be changed at various points during its lifetime, though this is a paperwork intensive process. All commercial aircraft are given a temporary tail number for flight testing before being delivered to an airline with a new tail number. Likewise, if an aircraft changes airlines or owners, the new owner may decide to change the aircraft’s tail number.

Ironically, you’ll rarely see an aircraft’s tail number on its actual tail; they’re almost always painted on the rear fuselage, or even on the engine of an aircraft with rear-mounted engines. In some countries, tail numbers have also been painted on aircraft wings for decades, though that has become uncommon in the U.S. This image shows an Air India Boeing 787 with its tail number painted on the rear fuselage and on the bottom side of the wing.

Like someone’s name, a tail number is part of an airplane’s public record forever. Your name is tied to where you were born, your family, where you’ve worked, studied and lived. A tail number tells an equally detailed story of an aircraft’s past owners, locations and maintenance records. If you happen to catch the tail number of the next airplane you’re boarding, Google it. You may be surprised by the places your airplane has seen!

ORIGIN: Asheville Regional Airport unveils new gallery exhibit

(Asheville, N.C.) The Art Gallery at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) unveiled a new exhibit, Origin, on display through October 29, 2017.  The exhibit features artwork from four artists whose work reflects the western North Carolina region.

Acrylic paintings by Kim Rody Kopp welcome summer to the mountains with her use of color in vibrant statement pieces, capturing views from the area. The archival photographic prints by Bonnie Cooper and Dan McGowan strategically document a piece of the heritage of WNC. Paul Karnowski's canvases leave the viewer considering the dynamics between where things begin and end.

Whether Asheville is one's origin or destination, the exhibit at the airport gallery delivers a bright and thought provoking showcase. Origin invites travelers to take a glimpse of the area through a new perspective.

"The art gallery is truly a way for both the passengers and public alike to experience a taste of our region," said Alexandra Bradley, Marketing and Public Relations Specialist at AVL and curator of the gallery. 

Artwork can be purchased from the gallery by emailing Artists who reside in any of the eleven counties within AVL's primary service market may apply for acceptance into upcoming exhibits. Details about the program, including application instructions, can be found on the airport's website at

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Airline Nicknames and Call Signs

Did you have a cool nickname as a kid? Maybe one of your friends did. We all know someone with a longer name that prefers to go by an abbreviation or nickname. When it comes to radio communications, airlines work exactly the same way.

Every airline has its own call sign for use in radio communications. Any given flight will be known over the radios as its airline call sign followed by that flight’s number — Delta 993 for example. A commercial flight will use this call sign from the scheduled departure gate to the scheduled arrival gate, even if that flight diverts or needs to make a stop for any reason.

If an aircraft is not part of an airline or air carrier’s fleet, then it will be identified by its aircraft type and tail number by Air Traffic Control (ATC). Also, the phonetic alphabet is used globally in aviation, for consistency. Instead of just saying “A” you’d say “alpha,” and “N” would be “November” and so on. A Learjet with the tail number N45LJ would be referred to as “Learjet 45 Lima Juliet.” Most smaller general aviation aircraft and business jets are identified this way.

If you think about it, the way in which airplanes are assigned call signs is no different from the way people get their nicknames. Sometimes people will shorten their first name and other times they’ll go by their middle name or something that represents them. Other times, they’ll just make something up!

Delta, American and United each keep it straightforward by using only their airline’s proper name as the call sign, but some airlines have had very creative call signs over the years. Check out these examples — some of which are from airlines that have since merged with other airlines, but the nicknames still retain their cool factor!

  • America West – “Cactus” due to their headquarters in Phoenix, AZ
  • AirTran – “Citrus” due to their Orlando, FL headquarters and heavy emphasis on flights originating in Florida
  • Virgin America – “Redwood” named for the California Redwood tree, due their San Francisco headquarters and California focus
  • Atlas Air – “Giant” because this airline, for much of their history, only flew the massive Boeing 747 freighter

Two of the more unique and creative call signs flying in the U.S. today actually belong to Trans States and Republic Airlines — two regional airlines. Republic flies regional jets for Delta, United and American. This Indianapolis-based airline uses the call sign “brickyard,” paying homage to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway — aka “The Brickyard.” Trans States flights use the call sign “waterski.” Yes, waterski, the aquatic activity. This call sign dates back to the airline’s beginning in 1982 as a tiny carrier named Resort Air that primarily carried passengers to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

Call signs, like names, come in all shapes and sizes but they’re each unique to one airline or airplane. In a way, they’re even more unique than a personal name because at no given time will there ever be two planes in the air with the same call sign. The call sign system is just one of the many structures in place to keep air traffic flowing smoothly and safely.