ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – Asheville Regional Airport broke ground Friday on a new $400 million passenger terminal as part of their AVL Forward project.

The new terminal replaces the current 62-year-old passenger terminal which airport officials said is “bursting at the seams.”

A corner of the old terminal was torn down during the groundbreaking ceremony.

“Our new airport terminal represents more than just a building; it signifies the promise of economic growth and prosperity for our community,” said Lew Bleiweis, president and CEO of the Greater Asheville Regional Airport Authority. “We are creating an environment that not only facilitates air travel but also elevates the overall airport experience, designed to leave lasting positive impressions on all who pass through our doors.”

(From: Asheville Regional Airport)

Designs include floor-to-ceiling windows, a new concessions plaza, and art installations such as a “living wall” in the new baggage claim.

Dedicated rooms for nursing mothers and an indoor pet relief area are included in the plans.

The new terminal will be 150% larger than the current facility and includes 12 gates over two concourses.

In the first phase of construction, the existing north concourse will be demolished in August 2023 and the new north concourse, with seven gates and six boarding bridges, will be built over two years.

(From: Asheville Regional Airport)

The new north concourse will open to the public in 2025.

The second phase will result in the demolition of the existing south concourse and construction of the new south concourse. Phase two also includes the second-floor concessions plaza, expanded ticket lobby and baggage claim, the new grand lobby, and a permanent TSA security checkpoint.

(From: Asheville Regional Airport)

Construction on the first two phases is expected to be complete in about three and a half years.

A third phase, consisting of additional “back of the house” construction, demolition, and clean-up will take place over another year following the opening of the new terminal.

During construction of the north concourse, passengers will have to walk outside to board planes from the south gate area and temporary gate space built to the south.

A separate project will see the airport construct an additional parking lot south of the airport, across from the WNC Ag Center. That lot will include shuttle service to the terminal.

AVL has seen record passenger numbers with 1.8 million passengers flying through the airport in 2022.

June saw the airport welcoming more than 200,000 passengers in a single month for the first time.