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AirTran to Depart from Asheville Airport

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Regional Airport Authority (ARAA) announced this week that AirTran Airways, which was recently acquired by Southwest Airlines, will be discontinuing service from Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) effective January 6, 2012.

AirTran Airways has served AVL since June 2009 with non-stop flights to Orlando, FL, and with service to Tampa, FL, since February 2010. ARAA data indicates that AirTran accounted for approximately 8% of the airport’s passenger traffic in 2010.

“Thanks to the support of this community, the AirTran routes have been successful, and we had high hopes that Southwest Airlines would choose to continue serving Western North Carolina residents,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., airport director. “While we are disappointed with the decision, we also have confidence in the other six airlines serving our airport and in the loyalty of our passengers.”

AVL is served by low-cost carrier Vision Airlines, which also offers non-stop flights to Florida, as well as by American Airlines/American Eagle (seasonal), Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways.

“Our goal is to continue increasing the ease of travel from AVL, especially through the addition of new non-stop destinations and competitively-priced fares,” said Bleiweis. “We meet regularly with airlines to advocate for these things, and are optimistic about the future of air travel for our region.”

Asheville Regional Airport Announces United Airlines Service to Chicago

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009


FLETCHER, NC, – The Asheville Regional Airport Authority is pleased to announce that United Airlines is beginning daily non-stop service to Chicago, IL. Flights from Asheville Regional (AVL) to O’Hare International Airport (ORD) start December 17, 2009, on 50-seat CRJ200 regional jet aircraft operated by SkyWest Airlines.

“This new non-stop flight to the ‘ Windy City’ is great news for Western North Carolina,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Airport Director. “Asheville Regional Airport is proud to provide a link to business and industry in the Midwest as well as welcome tourism from the third largest city in the U.S. via this new service.”

Travelers can book flights now at www.united.com and www.flyavl.com. Asheville Regional Airport is also served by AirTran, Continental, Delta, and US Airways.

Renovation Work Begins at Asheville Regional Airport

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Asheville Airport

ASHEVILLE, NC – A $9.5 million construction project, funded in part by $7.6 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), is now underway at Asheville Regional Airport. The funding, which was distributed by FAA, will be used to improve the terminal at Asheville Regional.

Beginning this month, all flights will depart from the B-gate area as the A-gates undergo complete renovation. Additionally, the security checkpoint will be under construction.

“This project will not only enhance the terminal and improve the travel experience at AVL, but it will also infuse the local economy by creating jobs,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., airport director.

The project will create a new, larger A-gate area, which also will be relocated to the lower level; a revamped security checkpoint, new post-security concessions, additional offices and storage, among other improvements. Renovations are schedule for completion by summer 2010.

In addition, other construction projects underway include parking lot and Terminal Drive rehabilitation, including toll plaza renovation, and improvements to the general aviation roadway.

Asheville Named ‘Top 5 Bargain Destination" in USA Today

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Downtown Asheville

Article originally appeared in Thursday’s edition of USA Today

Recession, the swine flu, and airline capacity cuts: On the one hand, it seems like the odds are stacked against travelers. On the other, there are a lot of great travel deals and a whole world out there. So if you’re looking for bargain travel this summer, you’re in luck. In fact, I found so many good deals that, in addition to the top five, I added a roundup of more destinations that should be on the radar of anyone looking for an affordable vacation.

I’ve monitored trends, industry news, and sale patterns to point you in the direction of places that offer the best bargain value for the coming season. Below you’ll find examples of deals presently available for summer trips. Like all deals, these are sure to expire; however, a little research on your part can yield similar results when you’re ready to book.

Los Angeles

The winning combination of new air service, solid deals, and fewer visitors make the greater Los Angeles area a bargain hotspot this summer. L.A. airports have seen a drop in passenger traffic this year, but airlines are still adding new service, which means more choice and less competition for travelers. Need more convincing? The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) just named Los Angeles a top budget-friendly destination. And, Disneyland is offering free admission to visitors on their birthday.

So about those new routes. Virgin America just started service between San Francisco and John Wayne Airport in Orange County. Meanwhile, Delta has expanded service between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. There are so many sales on domestic air travel this summer, it’s hard to keep track of them all. AirTran (book by May 12), Alaska (book by May 14), Delta (book by May 18), Southwest (book by May 14), United (book by May 14), and Virgin America all have flights on sale to Los Angeles airports. No matter when you book, you can always check the latest domestic airfare deals for your dates.

On the ground, there are more ways to save. Santa Monica has a Sun, Sea, Save promotion that offers travelers a third night free and a variety of free attraction passes when booking at participating Santa Monica hotels. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau lists current L.A. discounts on restaurants, tours, and more. And, Disneyland deals are available directly through the park or via providers such as Expedia and JetBlue.

Dominican Republic

With this many deals and discounts, the Dominican Republic could convincingly rename itself the Deals Republic this summer. But deals aren’t the only reason to consider the DR: Two low-cost airlines are starting new service to the island, and industry publication Travel Weekly named the Dominican Republic the number one Caribbean destination late last year, a testament to its broad travel appeal. However, bear in mind that summer is hurricane season, so if you do plan a Caribbean vacation, be sure to get trip insurance and consider traveling outside of the late August and early September peak storm season.

New service from low-cost carriers puts the Dominican Republic within reach for more travelers. Starting on June 18, Spirit will begin service between Ft. Lauderdale and Santiago, and on June 19, JetBlue kicks off service between Boston and Santo Domingo.

Options abound on the vacation package front. CheapCaribbean.com is offering discounted air-and-hotel packages such as four-nights and airfare from $560 per person (at press time, this deal was set to expire on May 11, but may be extended or replaced by a similar offer). JetBlue had an air-and-three-night package at the Riu Mambo all-inclusive resort in Puerto Plata for $405 per person. These are just a few of the vacation deals you should be able to find to the Dominican Republic this summer from online travel agencies and airlines.

At resorts around the island, discounts are the norm this summer. Club Med Punta Cana is offering 50% off the second person on stays of three nights or longer, or free stays for kids 15 and younger for seven-night stays. The Excellence Punta Cana Resort has 15 to 25% off summer rates, and the Puntacana Hotel has 40% off rates to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

National Parks

If you’re within driving distance, on a budget, and enjoy the outdoors, a national park (or state or regional park) can be an ideal summer bargain destination. Accommodations are as cheap as you’ll find them (though you’ll have to pack your own bed … or sleeping bag) and you’ll be surrounded by free activities like hiking, bird watching, and swimming. If everything but the sleeping on the ground sounds good, you can forgo the camping in favor of an in- or out-of-park hotel or motel. However, unless you’re planning on staying at one of the no-reservations campgrounds in a park, don’t wait until the last minute to book your accommodations; this bargain option is one many summer travelers will likely take advantage of this season.

Not sold yet? Here are some numbers that illustrate the sorts of vacation costs you can expect at national parks. At Yellowstone, for example, the entrance fee (good for up to six people) is just $25. Campsites for up to four people range between $12 and $25 per night. And early summer room rates near the park start at $59 per night. If you’re not within road-trip distance of the park, you might consider flying into Salt Lake City, where you’ll be able to take advantage of U.S. summer airfare sales from many major airlines. For more tips, Priceline.com blogger Brian Ek has a detailed and money-saving post on the best way to visit Yellowstone on a budget.

Other parks offer similarly good value. In Yosemite, you’ll pay $20 per car and $14 to $20 for a campsite. And at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, entrance is free and campsites cost between $14 and $23 per night.

Australia

This summer is a particularly good time to save money on an Australia vacation. The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA) is reporting that travel to Australia is 20% cheaper now than it was a year ago. Plus, competitive pricing from airlines and other promotions such as discounted vacation packages and air passes make Australia an intriguing choice for travelers who can spend a little more but are still on a budget this summer.

The flight time from Los Angeles to Sydney is about the same as between L.A. and Rome. And this summer, it may actually be cheaper to fly to Australia than to Europe. A spot-check of flights from San Francisco in July puts a round-trip flight to Sydney at $763 versus $1,040 to Rome. Even from the East Coast, Australia flights are competitive with airfare to Europe.

Fares and vacation packages bring Australia’s affordability into better focus. Qantas is running a sale with round-trip flights between L.A. or San Francisco and Brisbane, Melbourne, or Sydney from about $620, or from New York starting at $820. V Australia recently ended a similar deal, and may offer more sale fares to stay competitive. Qantas also has a four-city Australia air pass from $999, which allows travelers to visit multiple cities on a single airfare. For $999, the airline has an air-and-hotel package with six nights’ accommodations as well.

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville earns top-five status by being an already affordable destination with new low-cost airline service. AirTran will begin flying between Orlando and Asheville starting June 11, with introductory fares of $69 one-way. You might also check flights into Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (about an hour and thirty minutes away) and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (about two hours away) to compare fares if the lowest price is a priority.

In the Specials and Deals section of ExploreAsheville.com, you’ll find savings such as 50-percent off a second night at the Four Points by Sheraton, $25 per night gas rebate card from the Crowne Plaza, and discounts at museums around town. You can also take advantage of the site’s Asheville budget travel planner, with free activity ideas and more savings opportunities. Plus, Asheville is an ideal jumping-off point for a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway, known as "America’s Favorite Drive" and a can’t-miss (and free) activity. For more information, the Asheville Travel Blog offers a current look at events and activities in town.

By Christine Sarkis, SmarterTravel.com

Asheville Airport To Offer Daily Non-Stop Flights To NYC

Monday, March 30th, 2009

ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Regional Airport Authority is pleased to announce that Delta Air Lines will begin daily non-stop service to New York City. Flights from Asheville Regional (AVL) to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) start June 4, 2009, using 50-seat regional jets.

“Passengers now have another option when traveling to New York with the return of non-stop flights to the “Big Apple”,” said David N. Edwards, Jr., A.A.E., Airport Director. “Asheville Regional Airport, with our partner Delta Air Lines is proud to bring this new service to the Western North Carolina community.”

“As we continue leveraging the opportunities presented by our merger with Northwest, Asheville will now see a direct benefit with new nonstop service to New York’s LaGuardia Airport and the opportunity to connect through our global gateway at John F. Kennedy International Airport to over 40 International destinations and five continents,” said Joe Esposito, Delta’s managing director of schedule planning.

Travelers can book their tickets now at http://www.delta.com and http://www.flyavl.com. Atlanta, Cincinnati and Detroit are other destinations currently provided by Delta out of Asheville. Asheville Regional Airport is also served by AirTran (beginning June 11th), Continental and US Airways.

Asheville Regional Airport to Offer Non-Stop to Orlando

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


ASHEVILLE, NC – The Asheville Regional Airport Authority is pleased to announce that AirTran Airways will begin new non-stop air service between Asheville and Orlando International Airport on June 11, 2009. Service will be operated using 117- passenger Boeing 717 jets. These jets will provide two classes of non-stop service to Florida where travelers can enjoy beaches and sunshine.

“This new service is great news for Western North Carolina as it will inject new energy into our local business economy and support our vital tourism industry,” said David N. Edwards, Jr., A.A.E, Airport Director. ”Asheville is a great place to do business, and this new service from AirTran, a low-cost carrier, demonstrates our commitment to Western North Carolina.”

Introductory Sale Fares will begin at $69 and must be purchased by April 16, with travel completed by June 25, 2009. Travelers can book their ticket at www.airtran.com and www.flyavl.com.

Vintage B-17 Bomber Visits the Asheville Airport

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) restored B-17 bomber The Aluminum Overcast will visit the Asheville Regional Airport on Oct. 2nd and 3rd.

The EAA’s Aluminum Overcast was built in 1945, but was delivered to the Army Air Corps too late to see active service in World War II. Purchased as war surplus for $750 by a private individual, it served in many countries’ mapping and spraying operations until a preservation group purchased it in 1978.

The public can take flights on the bomber for $385 to $425. For more information, visit b17.org or contact The EAA’s B-17 Tour Office at (800) 359-6217.