More and more people are flying into Asheville, according to numbers to be released tomorrow by the Asheville Regional Airport Authority. April saw a 21.6% increase in “deplanements” (the number of passengers who got off a plane) from this time last year —that translates to an additional 5,183 people.
It’s the second month in a row that the airport has reported a major increase in passenger traffic. The number of travelers departing from Asheville (“enplanements” in airport speak) jumped 23.8% for April compared with April of last year, making it the largest increase of its kind in nearly five years. “If the trend continues, we’re on track to break the 300,000 mark for the calendar year,” said Amy S. Burritt, the Airport’s Interim Manager of Marketing and Public Relations. “If that happens, it will be the first time since 2005.”
The airport, which first opened in 1961, has added five new direct flights all in the last year: Chicago’s O’Hare, LaGuardia in New York City, Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa, and Orlando. Burritt credits the new offerings with the upsurge in passenger traffic, as well as more targeted television and radio advertising. “We’ve also forged deep partnerships in the community,” she said. “We’re proud sponsors of the (Hendersonville) Apple Festival and the Health Adventure.”
The economic impact of increased passenger traffic to the area is enormous. It’s estimated that a total of 2,410 jobs, $61,625,669 in wages, $27,822,131 in tax revenues, and $205,124,969 in total local output (sales plus or minus inventory) are generated by the airport each year. For a complete report on the economic impact of the airport, click here.
“When people begin to travel more, it is often an indicator of an improving economy,” said Lew Bleiweis, the Airport’s Director. “Of course this is great news for the airport, but we’re also really excited about what it means for Western North Carolina as a whole.”
For to schedule a flight or to learn more about the airport, click here.