Asheville Regional Airport
Asheville Regional Airport is a Class C airport owned by the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority. It was categorized as a small-hub primary commercial service facility by the FAA National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2019 - 2023.
In 1928, the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and City of Asheville leased land and began developing an airport. Eight years later, the cities of Asheville and Hendersonville and Henderson County joined together to purchase the 122 acres and unpaved runways in exchange for land and cash with a total value of $31,000. From 1943 - 1947, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers operated the airport, providing air transportation for their communications and weather headquarters. During this time, federal funds were used to build three 4,000-foot paved runways, a control tower, and a fire station. Local leaders began planning for a new airport location in 1957 due to the fact that the current location was limited by its close proximity to mountains. On January 15, 1961, the new Asheville Regional Airport was approved to operate both day and night commercial flights. The new airport sat on 740 acres of land and contained a 25,060-square-foot terminal building and a 6,500-foot runway. Later that year, the terminal building opened up, which enabled the airport to now be considered a fully-operational commercial airport. The airport continued to grow throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and then in 1980, the newly created Asheville Regional Airport Authority took over operational management of the airport, originally handled by the City of Asheville. A runway extension project that began in 1978 was completed, improving safety and allowing larger aircraft access to KAVL on the 8,001-foot runway. Also, baggage claim was tripled in size, and a new gate area doubled in capacity to handle the increasing number of passengers. In 1992, a major expansion project was finished, which included the expansion of the ticket lobby, baggage claim area, and administrative office space. A second-level boarding area and jetways were built, as well as an atrium. The ground-level boarding areas were expanded and renovated. These renovations pushed KAVL up to the fourth largest airport in the state. During the rest of the 1990s, more improvements were put in place, including a loop road and an aiport welcome center. Then in 2006, a new apron and ramp area were constructed, allowing up to 13 aircraft to be parked at the same time. That year also marked the beginning of HonorAir, with the first flight departing from the airport (HonorAir is an organization that hosts World War II veterans on complimentary trips to Washington D.C. to visit the World War II Memorial). In 2009, $17.8 million of upgrades were finished, including another baggage carousel, car rental desks, and security enhancements, and the following year the airport experienced it's largest number of passengers up to that point. In 2021, the airport celebrated its 60th anniversary.
KAVL lies near Interstate 26, close to the town of Fletcher, nine miles south of downtown Asheville, North Carolina.
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