Asheville Regional Airport

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Asheville Regional Airport
Asheville Regional Airport logo.png
Asheville Regional Airport (6284281669).jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Asheville
OperatorAsheville Regional Airport Authority
ServesAsheville, North Carolina
LocationAsheville, North Carolina[1]
Opened1961 (1961)
Focus city forAllegiant Air[2]
Elevation AMSL2,164 ft / 660 m
Coordinates35°26′10″N 082°32′30″W / 35.43611°N 82.54167°W / 35.43611; -82.54167Coordinates: 35°26′10″N 082°32′30″W / 35.43611°N 82.54167°W / 35.43611; -82.54167 Edit this at Wikidata
AVL is located in North Carolina
AVL is located in the United States
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 8,001 2,439 Asphalt
Aircraft operations (2018)74,026
Based aircraft (2020)140
Passenger volume (12 months ending May 2020)1,601,000
Scheduled Flights11,000

Asheville Regional Airport (IATA: AVL, ICAO: KAVL, FAA LID: AVL) is a Class C airport near Interstate 26 near the town of Fletcher, 9 miles (14 km) south of downtown Asheville, in the U.S. state of North Carolina, United States. It is owned by the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority.[3] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2019–2023 categorized it as a small-hub primary commercial service facility.[5] In 2019 it served an all-time record number of passengers for the airport, 1,616,762, an increase of 43% over 2018 and the sixth consecutive year of record traffic.[6]

The airport opened initially with a 6500-foot runway in 1961, replacing the former airport at 35°26′20″N 82°28′52″W / 35.439°N 82.481°W / 35.439; -82.481 (Former airport serving Asheville).


Asheville Regional Airport covers 900 acres (360 ha) and had one asphalt runway (temporary) measuring 7,001 ft × 100 ft (2,134 m × 30 m).[3] Completion of a permanent 8,001 ft × 150 ft (2,439 m × 46 m) runway was expected by the end of 2019.[7]

In the year ending December 31, 2018, the airport had 61,298 aircraft operations, average 168 per day: 63% general aviation, 17% air taxi, 15% airline, and 5% military. In May 2020, 140 aircraft were based at the airport: 116 single-engine, 13 multi-engine, 9 jet, and 2 helicopter.[3]

The airport sees the following jet airliners regularly:

A Concorde supersonic transport (SST) visited AVL during a 1987 promotional tour and was snowed-in overnight. Chartered Boeing 747s (operated by United Airlines) have visited, as has an Airbus A340 during the visit of Charles, Prince of Wales, to the nearby Biltmore Estate in 1996. AVL's 8,001-foot (2,439 m) runway can handle almost any aircraft.

In April 2010, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama landed in Asheville aboard a Boeing C-32 (the USAF version of the Boeing 757-200) for a weekend getaway. In October 2011 President Obama landed in Asheville in the larger Boeing VC-25 (the USAF version of the Boeing 747-200) to kick off his North Carolina and Virginia bus tour promoting his jobs bill. He gave a speech at the airport, and cited potential enhancements at the airport as part of the jobs push.[9] President Obama returned to Asheville on February 13, 2013, on the same aircraft for a brief visit and speech at a nearby manufacturing facility.

The terminal building opened on June 7, 1961.[10] A $20 million expansion and renovation project began in 1987. The expansion project was completed in 1992, which resulted in an expansion of the ticket lobby, baggage claim area, and administrative office space. A second-level boarding area and jetways were constructed, as well as an atrium to the existing lobby. The second-level boarding area was removed and the ground-level boarding areas were expanded and renovated in 2003, designed by McCreary/Snow Architects, PA and built by Wilkie Construction Company, Inc.[11] In 2009, $17.8 million of improvements were completed, including a Guest Services center, an additional baggage carousel, rental car desks, offices and security enhancements. In November 2017, a new 1,300-space parking deck opened in front of the airport terminal.[12]

As part of Project SOAR (Significant Opportunity for Aviation in our Region), a major airport improvement project, the existing runway (which was over 50 years old) was nearing the end of its useful life and required major reconstruction to continue its use into the future. Also, the existing runway did not meet the most current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements that were put in place long after the runway was originally constructed. In December 2015, a temporary runway was opened west of the existing runway (16/34). The temporary runway 35 Instrument Landing System (ILS) is operational, and Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) are available on both ends of the runway. The runway magnetic compass heading has shifted slightly over the years, and runway 16/34 has been renamed to runway 17/35.[13] The new runway entered service on November 5, 2020.[14]

Asheville Regional Airport is a focus city for Allegiant Air which bases Airbus A320 family aircraft and crew at the airport.[15]

Airline service: 1948-1996[edit]

In 1948, Capital Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Piedmont Airlines (1948-1989) served the former Asheville airport, all with Douglas DC-3s. Capital flew nonstop to Charlotte and Knoxville;[16] Delta flew nonstop to Greenville, SC, and Knoxville;[16] Piedmont flew nonstop to Tri-Cities, TN and Charlotte.[16]

In 1959, the Asheville City Council would purchase property partially located in neighboring Henderson County for the development of the airport. The North Carolina General Assembly would pass a bill that would to redesign the boundaries of Buncombe and Henderson to include the proposed airport property entirely in Buncombe, allowing Asheville to annex the complete site.[1]

In 1961, Capital Airlines flew Vickers Viscounts into the recently opened new airport with nonstop service to Atlanta, GA, Tri-Cities, TN and Winston/Salem.[16] Capital was acquired by and merged into United Airlines which in 1963 flew Viscounts and Douglas DC-6Bs nonstop to Atlanta, Greensboro, Raleigh/Durham and Washington D.C. National Airport.[16] In 1966 Delta had one daily flight from Asheville, a Douglas DC-7 nonstop to Knoxville and direct to Louisville and Chicago O'Hare Airport.[16] In 1966 Piedmont Fairchild F-27s and Martin 4-0-4s flew nonstop to Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville, Roanoke and Tri-Cities, TN.[16]

Piedmont Airlines introduced Boeing 727-100s in 1967, a typical routing being Atlanta - Asheville - Winston/Salem - Roanoke - New York LaGuardia Airport.[16] In 1969 United Boeing 737-200s flew nonstop to Atlanta and Raleigh/Durham while Delta McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s flew nonstop to Knoxville with same plane service to Louisville and Chicago O'Hare Airport.[16]

The front of the terminal and the control tower

The April 1975 Official Airline Guide listed Delta, Piedmont and United serving Asheville.[17] Delta had one daily McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30 from Knoxville, originating at Chicago O'Hare Airport via Louisville. Piedmont flew Boeing 737-200s, Fairchild Hiller FH-227s and NAMC YS-11s nonstop from Atlanta, Charleston, WV, Charlotte, Danville, VA, Fayetteville, NC, Greenville/Spartanburg, SC, Knoxville, Lynchburg, VA, Nashville, Roanoke, Tri-Cities, TN and Winston/Salem, and direct 737s from Memphis, Richmond, VA and Washington D.C. National Airport. United was flying nonstop Boeing 737-200s from Atlanta, Charleston, WV and Raleigh/Durham. In 1976 United flew direct to Tampa via Atlanta;[17] in 1978 Piedmont 737s flew direct to Chicago O'Hare Airport via Tri-Cities, TN.[17]

Piedmont was the only jet airline at Asheville in February 1985, with Boeing 727-200 and Fokker F28 Fellowship nonstops from Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte and Roanoke and one-stop 727s from Denver, Miami and New York LaGuardia Airport, plus one-stop F28s from New York Newark Airport according to the Official Airline Guide.[17] This same OAG also lists nonstop Delta Connection (operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines) de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7s and Short 360s from Atlanta, and Sunbird Airlines and Wheeler Airlines Beechcraft 99s from Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, plus Wheeler nonstops from Tri-Cities, TN.[17]

American Eagle BAe Jetstream 31s and Saab 340s began serving AVL from Nashville in 1986 and Raleigh-Durham in 1987.[18][19] These flights ended in 1995 when American closed both hubs.

Terminal waiting area

The April 1995 OAG listed six airlines at Asheville: American Eagle, Delta, Delta Connection (operated by both Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and Comair), USAir (which had merged with Piedmont in 1989) and USAir Express.[17] Delta and Delta Connection (ASA) had a total of eight nonstops a day from Atlanta, Delta on McDonnell Douglas MD-80s and Delta Connection on ATR 72s and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias. Delta Connection (operated by Comair) also had three EMB-120 Brasilias a day from Cincinnati, a Delta hub. USAir and USAir Express had a total of nine nonstops a day from the USAir hub in Charlotte, USAir with Boeing 737-300s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s and USAir Express with Short 360s. USAir Express also had three nonstop Jetstream 31s a day from Raleigh/Durham, some stopping in Greenville/Spartanburg. Delta ended mainline jets to AVL in December 1995, with ASA taking over with British Aerospace 146 regional jets; however, Delta currently operates mainline Boeing 717-200 service nonstop to its Atlanta hub in addition to Delta Connection regional jet flights.[20][21]

In 1996, Midway Airlines briefly flew to its hub at Raleigh-Durham via Midway Connection partner Corporate Airlines Jetstream 31s.[22]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Allegiant Air Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Hobby, Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul,[23] Newark, Orlando/Sanford, Punta Gorda (FL), St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Key West
American Airlines Charlotte (begins June 3, 2022)
American Eagle Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth
Seasonal: Austin (begins June 4, 2022),[24] Boston, Chicago–O'Hare,[24] Miami (begins June 3, 2022),[24] Philadelphia, Washington–National
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection Seasonal: New York–LaGuardia [25]
JetBlue Seasonal: Boston (begins June 16, 2022)
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul[26]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare
Seasonal: Newark


Key: Green - Seasonal; Blue - Future; Lime - Asheville Regional Airport


Annual passenger traffic at AVL airport. See source Wikidata query.

Carrier shares[edit]

Airline Market Shares (June 2020 - May 2021)
Rank Airline Passengers Market Share
1 Allegiant 402,000 50.34%
2 PSA 143,000 17.94%
3 Endeavor 96,350 12.07%
4 Republic 40,700 4.96%
5 Air Wisconsin 39,630 4.96%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from AVL (December 2020 - November 2021)[4]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Charlotte, North Carolina 111,620 American
2 Atlanta, Georgia 107,060 Delta
3 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 76,430 Allegiant
4 St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida 54,030 Allegiant
5 Orlando/Sanford, Florida 60,120 Allegiant
6 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 40,460 American
7 Punta Gorda/Ft Myers, Florida 20,720 Allegiant
8 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 46,660 American, United
9 Washington–Dulles, Virginia 29,680 United
10 Newark, New Jersey 19,480 United

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On July 19, 1967, Piedmont Airlines Flight 22, a Boeing 727-100, collided in mid-air with a Cessna 310 just south of the airport in Hendersonville. The collision happened just moments after the 727 took off from the Asheville Airport. All 82 people on both planes were killed.

On March 14, 2003, a Cessna 177 Cardinal crashed into Old Fort Mountain after taking off from the airport. It killed author Amanda Davis, who was on a book tour promoting her first novel Wonder When You'll Miss Me, and her parents.[28][29]

On October 27, 2004, a Beechcraft Duke crashed about 0.8 of a mile off the departure end of Runway 34 after an apparent right engine failure, killing all four people on board.[30][31]

On May 4, 2007, a 1977 Cessna 182 en route to Asheville Regional Airport crashed near the airport, killing three Georgia men. Initial reports said that rapper Jay-Z was on board. The reports were false.[32]

On October 6, 2017, a terrorist deposited a bag containing an improvised explosive device near the entrance to the Asheville Regional Airport terminal. The bomb was set to explode the following morning at 6:00 AM but was defused after being detected by bomb-sniffing dogs. The terrorist, Michael Christopher Estes, was arrested and faced two federal charges.[33][34][35] Estes pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of an explosive in an airport on January 12, 2018; the other charge was dismissed.[36]

On December 27, 2019, a small plane crashed in the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center parking lot adjacent to the airport shortly after takeoff. All five people on board survived with injuries and escaped before the plane exploded.[37]


  1. ^ a b "HOUSE BILL 1283" (PDF). North Carolina General Assembly. June 18, 1959. Retrieved June 12, 2021.
  2. ^ "Asheville Takes Off to Fun and Amusement" (Press release). Asheville, NC: Allegiant Travel Company. Acquire Media. September 13, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d FAA Airport Form 5010 for AVL PDF, effective May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "RITA BTS Transtats - AVL". March 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "NPIAS Report 2019-2023 Appendix A" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. October 3, 2018. p. 75. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 12, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  6. ^ Published 1:00 p.m. ET January 23, 2020 (January 23, 2020). "With unprecedented 43% annual growth, AVL served 1.6 million passengers in 2019". Retrieved January 23, 2020.
  7. ^ "Answer Man: Asheville Airport runway taking forever?". Citizen Times. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  8. ^ a b c "July - Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Obama pushes jobs bill at Asheville airport, exhorts citizens to fight for it | The Asheville Citizen-Times |". Archived from the original on July 23, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  10. ^ "History - Asheville Regional Airport". Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport Dedication Plaque - 2012". Airchive. 2CMedia. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  12. ^ Staff reports. "Good news, travelers: AVL opens new parking deck". The Asheville Citizen Times.
  13. ^ "Info for Pilots - Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  14. ^ Boyle, John. "Answer Man: Airport runway finished? Bigger planes a possibility?". The Asheville Citizen Times.
  15. ^ "FAQ" (PDF). Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Airline Timetable Images".
  17. ^ a b c d e f "index".
  18. ^ "AABNAhub". December 14, 1995. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  19. ^ "AARDUhub". Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  20. ^ "Panama City News Herald Newspaper Archives, Aug 4, 1995". August 4, 1995. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  21. ^ "Alert: System Unavailable : Delta Air Lines".
  22. ^ "JIRDUhub". Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  23. ^ Kepley-Steward, Kristy (June 29, 2021). "Allegiant to offer new non-stop flight out of Asheville". ABC13 News. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  24. ^ a b c "American Airlines adding service at Asheville Regional Airport this summer to Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida". Asheville Regional Airport. March 23, 2022.
  25. ^ "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  26. ^ "Two airlines to offer nonstop routes to and from Minnesota this fall".
  27. ^ "Timetable". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  28. ^ Luther, Claudia (March 24, 2003). "Amanda Davis, 32; 1st-Time Novelist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  29. ^ "Amanda Davis, 32, Novelist, Short-Story Writer and Teacher". The New York Times. March 18, 2003. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  30. ^ "ATL05FA013 NTSB report 27 October, 2004". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  31. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident 27-OCT-2004 Beechcraft 60 Duke N611JC". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  32. ^ "Jay-Z in a Plane Crash-- NOT TRUE". TMZ. May 4, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  33. ^ Charlie May (October 11, 2017). "A thwarted airport bombing receives little national press — and some activists cry foul". Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  34. ^ United States of America v. Michael Christopher Estes, Criminal Complaint (United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina 8 October 2017).Text
  35. ^ "Complaint: Airport bomb suspect wanted 'to fight a war on US soil'". Asheville Citizen-Times. October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  36. ^ United States of America v. Michael Christopher Estes, Judgment in a Criminal Case (United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina 6 December 2018).Text
  37. ^ Moshtaghian, Artemis; Asmelash, Leah (December 28, 2019). "Four injured after plane crashes outside of Asheville Regional Airport". CNN. Archived from the original on December 29, 2019. Retrieved August 15, 2021.

External links[edit]

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