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Dulles Then Dallas: AVL Airport Keeps Adding Flights, Passengers (And Maybe A New Terminal)

More than one million passengers went through Asheville Regional Airport last year, the most ever in the 58-year history of the facility.  If the first few months of 2019 are any indication, that number isn’t going to drop.  Maybe ever.  

This month, United Airlines started daily non-stop service from Asheville Regional to Washington Dulles International Airport outside of DC.  “DC has always been high on our list for our community, especially the business folks," says Lew Bleiweis, the executive director of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority. 

While United added Dulles, American is adding Dallas, as American Airlines will start daily non-stop service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in Texas from Asheville in May.  Other cities will follow according to Bleiweis, he’s just not at liberty to say which.  “We cannot (say).  We do have other cities targeted and intended and you’ll just have to stay tuned for that.”

Something Bleiweis is eager to talk about is physical expansion at the airport, in particular, the construction of a new terminal.  With passenger numbers climbing and new flights being added, the current terminal with its seven gates just isn’t big enough anymore according to Bleiweis.  “We’re hoping that we’ll go into design this summer, and that typically takes a year.  We’re hoping to put a shovel in the ground sometime in 2021 for a new terminal in Asheville.”

A new terminal - even just planning for one - likely means the years of the airport seeing fewer than a million passengers per year will become a distant memory. 

Asheville Regional Airport is a business sponsor of Blue Ridge Public Radio

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.