Asheville Airport sees big increase in travelers for the second month in a row

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.

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5 thoughts on “Asheville Airport sees big increase in travelers for the second month in a row

  1. WatchTheNumbers

    ” . . .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. . . .”

    Reports citing “economic impact” are tricky to read and tricky to understand. Perhaps a lucid economist could explain “multipliers” and “turnovers.” The impressive figures cited above, for example, are probably not “real” dollars coming into the economy. What is the “economic impact” of an individual earning, say, $50,000 a year? The dollars I spend are “multiplied,” “turned-over,” and “generate” jobs, sales, taxes, inputs, outputs and through-puts throughout the local economy. Even the dollars I don’t “spend” but “save” and “invest” create jobs for local financial institutions (banks, brokers, etc.) What is the “multiplier” and “economic impact” of my annual income of $50,000 (I wish!)? I may “generate” $83,000 in “economic impact” (using a multiplier of 1.66), but I am not any the richer.

    Reporters who cite these types of studies, which many local groups like to use to bolster their image as an “economic engine” of the area, could help their readers by learning to dissect, interpret and explain the studies for readers.

  2. Michael Muller

    Thanks for your comment. Indeed, the numbers are difficult to understand. The Airport authority, in arriving at the numbers (and quoting their report (which is referenced above) uses a “methodology that the NCDOT uses for airport impact analyses. The NCDOT logic is that direct impacts are economic activities at the airport, and all indirect impacts occur at a place away from the airport.”

    “The economic contribution of the Asheville Regional Airport is comprised of three impacts: direct, indirect, and induced…Direct effects are those initial changes occurring to a firm in expenditures or production as a result of a change in demand. Indirect effects occur to industries in the backward linked industries that supply the firm. Induced effects result from households spending generated by the additional income received in the local area.”

    I don’t know if this helps or makes things more confusing, frankly. But there’s no question that healthy passenger traffic (and its increase from last year) is a good sign.

  3. killarue

    I was able to get a great airfare out of AVL recently, and that is the key to success. Many citizens would prefer this airport but the fares have to be good. GSP is too expensive and the lot fees are high. CLT is a good airport to use but the distance is a factor. AVL, there is a strong market here, so do the numbers.

  4. WatchTheNumbers

    Thanks to Michael Muller for responding. And thanks for linking to the report you cited, so readers can read and try to understand for themselves the somewhat confusing statements about “direct,” “indirect” and “induced” economic impact. My only intent in writing was to ask reporters to use care in accepting at face value reports of “economic impact.” A dollar that churns through the economy ten times is still not $10. . or is it? Maybe that’s why that call economics “the dismal science.”

  5. Piffy!

    AVL is one of my favorite US airports. Although SEA is pretty awesome, as is PDX.

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