The Asheville Regional Airport has recorded four years of record growth, and that trend looks to continue this year coming off Wednesday’s announcement of two new weekly Asheville-to-Denver flights offered by Allegiant.
Allegiant’s investment in recent years has been a significant driver of the airport’s growth. Last year, Allegiant served 294,050 passengers arriving in, and leaving, Asheville, according to an airport press release. Allegiant provides 31 percent of all of Asheville’s air service. (Delta, United, Elite and American are the other carriers at the Asheville airport.)
Allegiant has designated Asheville as one of just 14 “base cities” in its network. It has a maintenance facility in Asheville and bases two aircraft in Asheville. Allegiant employs about 60 people in Asheville, while another 19 people work with their affiliate ground handler, Worldwide Flight Services.
Allegiant now serves seven destinations from Asheville: Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, Orlando (Sanford), Punta Gorda and St. Pete-Clearwater.
The recent growth of the Asheville airport has been astonishing. Asheville Regional Airport is the second fastest-growing “small hub” airport in the U.S., according to airport stats. The number of passengers using the airport in the 2017 calendar year, which is just under 1 million people, is 50 percent higher than it was four years ago.
The Asheville airport has been sprinting to keep up with the increased usage.
Last year, the airport opened a $22 million, five-story parking deck with 1,300 spaces. Airport officials also began thinking about the assessments needed to expand the airport’s existing terminal.
Meantime, one big job remains unfinished. Airport officials are looking for a new general contractor to finish runway construction work after terminating an existing agreement in November with the contractor who had been doing the work.
Since 2014, construction crews have built a temporary runway to allow for the complete renovation of the airport’s existing single runway. The work was supposed to be finished in December 2017. Now runway work isn’t scheduled to be finished until September 2018.