-Usage of the Asheville Regional Airport continues to be very strong. Overall passenger traffic for November 2017 was up 27 percent over the previous year. The number of people flying out of the Asheville airport for 2017 is up 14 percent over the previous year.
October 2017 was the busiest month on record at the airport, topping the previous record set in July 2017. Some 102,095 passengers used the airport in October, topping the previous record of 100,998 monthly passengers.
When December’s numbers come in, they will show a fourth consecutive record year for airport usage. Airport officials say the growth is driven by a significant increase in seats offered by Allegiant, American and United Airlines, and by travelers’ willingness to buy tickets on those airlines’ Asheville flights.
The airport is putting the finishing touches on its big new parking deck. The $22 million deck has 1,300 parking spaces.
Taxis, Ubers and Lyfts will soon be moved off of the main road in front of the terminal and into a nearby parking lot.
In the meantime, a few airport growing pains remain. 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.
Finally, the airport is set to launch building and infrastructure studies that will likely lead to the expansion of the airport terminal building. The last significant work on the terminal came in 2009, when a $17.8 million project added a guest services center, an additional baggage carousel, rental car desks, offices and security enhancements.
-Habitat Tavern and Commons will be transformed into an international food court on Saturday. For a $25 ticket at the door, visitors will be able to sample international food made by some of Asheville’s most talented chefs and cooks. It’s called Our Global Table, and money raised from the event goes to support Pisgah Legal’s Justice For All Project, which provides legal help to low-income immigrants and refugees in our community.
–Black Star Line Brewing in Hendersonville closed suddenly on Thursday. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that owner L.A. McCrae says the brewery remains open, but there are “location changes” coming. WLOS-TV reports that the brewery was broken into Thursday night. The brewery, the first black-owned, queer-owned brewery in Western North Carolina, received racial threats and slurs online last fall. Police investigated, but there have been no arrests.
-Robyn Tomlin, a former city editor at the Asheville Citizen-Times, has been named regional editor for the Carolinas at McClatchy, which owns 29 news organizations in the U.S., the Raleigh News & Observer reports. From Raleigh, Tomlin will oversee the organizations newsrooms in Durham, Charlotte and five organizations McClatchy owns in South Carolina, including The State newspaper in Columbia.
-Asheville police have arrested a suspect in connection with a Friday afternoon shooting in the Kmart parking lot on Patton Avenue that left one man dead, WSPA reports.
-Former WLOS anchorman Larry Blunt has announced that he’s running for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioner’s District 3 seat in this year’s election. Blunt is a registered independent. Democrat Catori Swann, an artist and small business owner, has also announced his candidacy for the District 3 seat, which is currently held by Republican Commissioner Robert Pressley.
In the race for District 2, Democrat Nancy Nehls has announced that she’s running for the seat. Commissioner Ellen Frost holds that seat now but has announced that she’s not seeking re-election.