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 Asheville, in the U.S. state of North Carolina. It is owned by the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority. In 2015 it served an all-time record number of passengers for the airport, 787,037, an increase of 4% over 2014.
It opened in 1961, replacing the airport at 35.439°N 82.481°W / 35.439; -82.481.
Asheville Regional Airport covers 900 acres (360 ha) and has one asphalt runway, measuring 8,001 x 150 ft (2,439 x 46 m).
In 2015 the airport had 63,182 aircraft operations, an average 173 per day: 66% general aviation, 16% air taxi, 9% scheduled commercial and 9% military. In 2013, 166 aircraft were based at this airport: 65% single-engine, 21% multi-engine, 11% jet and 2% helicopter.
The airport sees the following jet and turboprop aircraft regularly:Airbus A320 (164 passengers)
McDonnell Douglas MD-80 (150 passengers)
Airbus A319 (126 passengers)
Boeing 717 (102 passengers)
Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ200, CRJ700 and CRJ900 - 50, 70 or 90 passengers)
de Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8 turboprop (37 or 50 passengers)
Embraer ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 (37 or 50 passengers)
Various charter aircraft
A Concorde visited AVL during a 1987 promotional tour and was snowed-in overnight. Chartered Boeing 747s (United Airlines) have also 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 allows for the operation of almost any aircraft type.
In April 2010, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama landed in Asheville aboard Air Force One (Boeing C-32) for a weekend getaway. In October 2011, President Obama landed in Asheville aboard the larger (Boeing VC-25) Air Force One 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. 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. A $20 million expansion and renovation project began in 1987. The expansion project was completed in 1992, which resulted in 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 ground-level boarding areas were expanded and renovated in 2003, which was designed by McCreary/Snow Architects, PA and built by Wilkie Construction Company, Inc. 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.
As part of Project SOAR, a major airport improvement project, the existing runway (which is 50+ years old) is nearing the end of its useful life and will require major reconstruction to continue its use into the future. Also, the existing runway does 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 that is west of the existing runway (16/34). The temporary runway 35 Instrument Landing System (ILS) will be operational, and Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI) will be available on both ends of the runway. It should be noted that the runway magnetic compass heading has shifted slightly over the years, and runway 16/34 will be renamed to runway 17/35.
On July 19, 1967 Piedmont Airlines Flight 22, a Boeing 727, collided in mid-air with a Cessna 310 just south of the airport in Hendersonville, North Carolina. 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.
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.
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.