Asheville Regional Airport

Coordinates: 35°26′10″N 082°32′30″W / 35.43611°N 82.54167°W / 35.43611; -82.54167
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Asheville Regional Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerCity of Asheville
OperatorAsheville Regional Airport Authority
ServesAsheville, North Carolina
LocationAsheville, North Carolina[1]
Opened1961 (1961)
Operating base 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; -82.54167 Edit this at Wikidata
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
Direction Length Surface
ft m
17/35 8,002 2,439 Asphalt
Aircraft operations (year ending 3/31/2023)80,199
Based aircraft (2023)132
Passenger volume (2023)2,246,411

Asheville Regional Airport (IATA: AVL, ICAO: KAVL, FAA LID: AVL) is a Class C airport near Interstate 26 and the town of Fletcher, North Carolina, 9 miles (14 km) south of downtown Asheville. 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.[6] In 2023 it served an all-time record number of passengers for the airport, 2,246,411, an increase of 22.2% over 2022.[7]

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).


Allegiant Air MD-83 and Delta Air Lines Airbus A319 at respective gates

Asheville Regional Airport covers 900 acres (360 ha) and has one asphalt runway measuring 8,002 ft × 150 ft (2,439 m × 46 m).[3][8]

In the year ending March 31, 2023, the airport had 80,199 aircraft operations, average 220 per day: 59% general aviation, 13% air taxi, 22% airline, and 6% military. At that time, 132 aircraft were based at the airport: 113 single-engine, 10 multi-engine, 7 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 8,002-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.[10] 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[11] (the airport opened in January 1961[12]). 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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] The new runway entered service on November 5, 2020.[16]

In 2023 the airport began work on a multi-phase renovation and expansion of the terminal building. The new terminal will include 280,000 square feet, 150% larger than the current space, with 12 gates instead of the current seven and additional room for expansion. The renovated and expanded terminal is being constructed on the site of the existing terminal, necessitating a multi-year approach to its construction. The old terminal is being demolished, starting with the north end first.[17] The project also includes the construction of a new air traffic control tower on the southwest edge of the airport. Construction on the $44 million, 127-foot tower began in 2023 and is scheduled for completion in 2025. [18]

Asheville Regional Airport is a focus city for Allegiant Air which bases Airbus A320 family aircraft and crew at the airport.[19]

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;[20] Delta flew nonstop to Greenville, SC, and Knoxville;[20] Piedmont flew nonstop to Tri-Cities, TN and Charlotte.[20]

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.[20] 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.[20] 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.[20] In 1966 Piedmont Fairchild F-27s and Martin 4-0-4s flew nonstop to Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville, Roanoke and Tri-Cities, TN.[20]

Piedmont Airlines introduced Boeing 727-100s in 1967, a typical routing being Atlanta - Asheville - Winston/Salem - Roanoke - New York LaGuardia Airport.[20] 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.[20]

The front of the terminal and the control tower

The April 1975 Official Airline Guide listed Delta, Piedmont and United serving Asheville.[21] 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;[21] in 1978 Piedmont 737s flew direct to Chicago O'Hare Airport via Tri-Cities, TN.[21]

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.[21] 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.[21]

American Eagle BAe Jetstream 31s and Saab 340s began serving AVL from Nashville in 1986 and Raleigh-Durham in 1987.[22][23] 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.[21] 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.[24][25]

In 1996, Midway Airlines briefly flew to its hub at Raleigh-Durham via Midway Connection partner Corporate Airlines Jetstream 31s.[26]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Allegiant Air Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston–Hobby, Key West, Las Vegas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Newark, Orlando (begins May 3, 2024),[27] Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Punta Gorda (FL), St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Sarasota, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Destin/Fort Walton Beach
American Airlines Charlotte
American Eagle Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare, Miami
Delta Air Lines Atlanta
Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Delta Connection New York–LaGuardia [31]
JetBlue Seasonal: Boston[32]
Sun Country Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul[33]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver,[34] Newark [35]


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



Annual passenger traffic at AVL airport. See Wikidata query.

Carrier shares[edit]

Airline Market Shares
(December 2022 – November 2023)
Rank Airline Passengers Market Share
1 Allegiant 947,000 42.62%
2 Delta 392,000 17.65%
3 American 245,000 11.02%
4 PSA 168,000 7.55%
5 Republic 101,000 4.54%
6 Other Airlines 369,000 16.61%

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from AVL (December 2022 – November 2023)[4]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 188,000 Delta
2 Charlotte, North Carolina 166,000 American
3 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 95,000 Allegiant
4 Orlando/Sanford, Florida 76,000 Allegiant
5 St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida 65,000 Allegiant
6 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 63,000 American, United
7 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 53,000 American
8 Newark, New Jersey 52,000 Allegiant, United
9 New York-LaGuardia, New York 50,000 American, Delta
10 Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota 42,000 Allegiant, Delta, Sun Country

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.[36][37]

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.[38][39]

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.[40]

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.[41][42][43] Estes pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful possession of an explosive in an airport on January 12, 2018; the other charge was dismissed.[44]

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.[45]

2023 Airport expansion[edit]

As of 2023, the airport is undergoing expansion and reconstruction.[46] Once the construction work is finished the terminal will be 150% larger than currently and will have 12 rather than 7 gates.[47] It will be two-story rather than single story when complete.[48] The groundbreaking ceremony for the terminal occurred 11 August 2023. The new air-traffic control tower will be ready in 2025 and ground breaking was January 2023.[49] The completed project is scheduled for 2026.[50][51] 175 million dollars in bonds was approved by the state treasurer for the project.[52] The total cost of the project has been cited as 400 million dollars.[53][54][55] Jet bridges will be added as part of the project as currently manual ramps are pushed up to the planes.[56]

See also[edit]


  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 July 13, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "RITA BTS Transtats - AVL". March 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Asheville Airport has record year for passengers in 2023". Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Asheville Airport Sets All-Time Record Serving 2,246,411 Passengers in 2023". Retrieved February 5, 2024.
  8. ^ "AVL airport data at". Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  9. ^ a b c "July - Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "History - Asheville Regional Airport". Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  12. ^ Airlift 2/61
  13. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport Dedication Plaque - 2012". Airchive. 2CMedia. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  14. ^ Staff reports. "Good news, travelers: AVL opens new parking deck". The Asheville Citizen Times.
  15. ^ "Info for Pilots - Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  16. ^ Boyle, John. "Answer Man: Airport runway finished? Bigger planes a possibility?". The Asheville Citizen Times.
  17. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport breaks ground on AVL Forward, a landmark infrastructure project to build a new airport terminal for western North Carolina | Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  18. ^ "Airport breaks ground on new Air Traffic Control Tower, a once-in-decades historic event | Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved February 10, 2024.
  19. ^ "FAQ" (PDF). Retrieved April 7, 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Airline Timetable Images".
  21. ^ a b c d e f "index".
  22. ^ "AABNAhub". December 14, 1995. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  23. ^ "AARDUhub". Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  24. ^ "Panama City News Herald Newspaper Archives, Aug 4, 1995". August 4, 1995. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  25. ^ "Alert: System Unavailable : Delta Air Lines".
  26. ^ "JIRDUhub". Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "Allegiant will begin flying out of Orlando International Airport next year". ClickOrlando. November 16, 2023. Retrieved November 16, 2023.
  28. ^ Kepley-Steward, Kristy (June 29, 2021). "Allegiant to offer new non-stop flight out of Asheville". ABC13 News. Retrieved June 30, 2021.
  29. ^ "American Airlines adding service at Asheville Regional Airport this summer to Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida". Asheville Regional Airport. March 23, 2022.
  30. ^ "American is adding 6 new routes from New York as part of its alliance with JetBlue — see the full list". Business Insider.
  31. ^ "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "JetBlue Begins Summer Seasonal Service to Asheville from Boston". June 16, 2022.
  33. ^ "Two airlines to offer nonstop routes to and from Minnesota this fall".
  34. ^ "United Expands Role as Denver's Most Flown Airline: Adds 35 Flights, Six Routes, 12 Gates, New Flight Bank and Three Clubs". Retrieved May 23, 2023.
  35. ^ "AVL Airlines". Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  36. ^ Luther, Claudia (March 24, 2003). "Amanda Davis, 32; 1st-Time Novelist". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  37. ^ "Amanda Davis, 32, Novelist, Short-Story Writer and Teacher". The New York Times. March 18, 2003. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  38. ^ "ATL05FA013 NTSB report 27 October, 2004". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  39. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident 27-OCT-2004 Beechcraft 60 Duke N611JC". Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  40. ^ "Jay-Z in a Plane Crash-- NOT TRUE". TMZ. May 4, 2007. Retrieved August 15, 2021.
  41. ^ Charlie May (October 11, 2017). "A thwarted airport bombing receives little national press — and some activists cry foul". Salon. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  42. ^ 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.
  43. ^ "Complaint: Airport bomb suspect wanted 'to fight a war on US soil'". Asheville Citizen-Times. October 11, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ 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.
  46. ^ Parlier, Greg (July 12, 2023). "Sky-high growth: Asheville Regional Airport expanding as demand soars". Mountain Xpress. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  47. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport breaks ground on AVL Forward, a landmark infrastructure project to build a new airport terminal for western North Carolina | Asheville Regional Airport". Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  48. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) - Terminal Modernization & Expansion". Gresham Smith. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  49. ^ "North Carolina's Asheville Airport Breaks Ground On $55 Million ATC Tower | Aviation Week Network". Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  50. ^ King, Kimberly (August 11, 2023). "Asheville Regional Airport gears up for biggest expansion project in its history". WLOS. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  51. ^ "The future of the Asheville Regional Airport". AVLtoday. April 27, 2023. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  52. ^ "Fast-Growing Asheville Regional Airport OK'd for $175 Million in Bonds to Expand Terminal | NC Treasurer". Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  53. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport breaks ground on new $400 million passenger terminal". WSPA 7NEWS. August 11, 2023. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  54. ^ "Asheville Regional Airport breaks ground on $400 million expansion project". WFAE 90.7 - Charlotte's NPR News Source. August 14, 2023. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  55. ^ Mwaniki, Peter (August 14, 2023). "Asheville Regional Airport commences $400M expansion project". Constructionreview. Retrieved September 26, 2023.
  56. ^ "AVL Phase 2 Terminal Modernization". Arora Engineers. Retrieved September 26, 2023.

External links[edit]