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  • Asheville Citizen-Times

    Asheville Airport's new air traffic control tower gets construction boost with $3.5M grant

    By Will Hofmann, Asheville Citizen Times,


    ASHEVILLE - The Asheville Regional Airport has received a $3.5 million grant for a new air traffic control tower from the U.S. Department of Transportation, North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis' office announced in a June 13 news release.

    The $3.5 million comes from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which has also provided funding for other regional projects, like the proposed rail line from Asheville to Salisbury.

    “This funding will be used to replace the existing 61-year-old control tower and provide a new state-of-the-art traffic control tower to better serve the airport and community,” Tillis wrote in a news release.

    The new air traffic control tower has a previously estimated cost of $55 million, with airport officials telling the Citizen Times in 2023 that the project would serve the community for decades to come. The new tower broke ground in January, according to a Federal Aviation Administration news release.

    Currently, the airport is in the midst of a massive $400 million expansion project titled "AVL Forward." The project includes the creation of a new airport terminal through construction of the new north and south concourses in phases. As part of the first phase, airport officials recently said the north concourse is "on pace" to be completed by summer 2025.

    The airport's current tower is the second oldest in the country, built in 1961. The location of the tower needs to be relocated for the expansion project.

    The airport has seen modified services during this time, with boarding bridges being removed to make more space for airplanes as construction continues.

    Airport officials say all the expansions are necessary to accommodate the record-breaking traffic passing through the Asheville Airport.

    In 2023, passenger numbers soared to an all-time high, with 2.2 million passengers passing through the airport, a 22% increase over 2022, and passenger travel to the mighty regional airport hasn't slowed down over the first few months of 2024.

    By the end of the year, they're likely to break that record again, Asheville Airport President and CEO Lew Bleiweis previously told the Citizen Times.

    Will Hofmann is the Growth and Development Reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Got a tip? Email him at Please help support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

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