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AVL celebrates 1 million passengers in '18

For the first time in its 58-year history, Asheville Regional Airport passed the 1 million mark in annual passengers. In 2018, 1,134,568 passengers utilized a commercial flight at AVL, on one of six airlines: Allegiant, American, Delta, Elite, Spirit and United.

Passenger numbers grew by 18.6 percent compared to 2017, making 2018 the second consecutive year of double-digit growth and fifth consecutive record year overall. The number of passengers has grown by 67 percent since 2013, when AVL served 678,023 passengers.

Additionally, the airport on the Henderson-Buncombe county line is the fourth largest commercial service airport in North Carolina, and one of the fastest-growing small hub airports in the country. A recent economic impact study showed that the airport contributes nearly $1.5 billion annually to the local economy.

"One million is a milestone," Lew Bleiweis, Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority executive director, said in a news release. "The unprecedented growth we have experienced in the past few years reflects the vitality of our region as a whole. We thank our airline partners, our dedicated airport staff and tenant organizations, and we especially thank our local community for choosing to 'fly local.'"

To celebrate the "one million" milestone, the airport is kicking off 2019 with a 58th birthday party with a regional Chamber of Commerce networking event, followed by a week of surprises in the terminal.

"We want to surprise and appreciate travelers, and thank them for choosing AVL," said Bleiweis. "They are all truly 'One in a Million,' and that's our theme this week. We have some amazing surprises in store - and this week will only be the beginning. To celebrate our 58th year - and the amazing one million milestone - we plan to provide at least 58 random acts of kindness for our travelers in 2019. This airport continues to grow with and for our region, and it's because our local travelers embrace Asheville Regional Airport. It is our pleasure to thank them all."
Last year new or expanded routes announced included:
- Denver (Allegiant)
- Dallas/Ft. Worth (American)
- Ft. Lauderdale (Spirit)
- New York (American - starts May 2019)
- Orlando (Spirit)
- Philadelphia (American - starts May 2019)
- Sarasota (Allegiant - starts February 2019)
- Tampa (Spirit)
- Washington, D.C. (United - starts February 2019)
- Year-round daily service to five international hubs