Charlottesville Albemarle Airport has one runway
Source: Federal Aviation Administration, Airport Diagram - Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO)
Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) opened in 1955. Charlottesville and Albemarle County transferred control to an independent authority in 1984.
In 2016 CHO had service from three major carriers (American, Delta, and United). They offered direct flights to Atlanta (ATL), Charlotte (CLT), Chicago (ORD), New York-LaGuardia (LGA), Philadelphia (PHL), and Washington (IAD). In addition, smaller carriers such as SkyWest and ExpressJet code-shared flights to hubs for KLM, Virginia Atlantic, and Qatar Airways.
Non-stop flights to Chicago's O'Hare Airport (ORD) by United Airlines started in 2011. Passenger travel to that destination grew by over 25% in five years, and Chicago became the #1 destination from Charlottesville. United Airlines started direct flights from Charlottesville to Chicago in 2017.
in 2016, major carriers American, Delta, and United offered direct service from Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) to six destinations
Source: Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, Routes and Stops and Airlines
American Airlines also added daily flights to New York-LaGuardia (LGA), and overall airport enplanements between 2006-2015 increased 37%. The runway was extended 800' to accommodate new 50-passenger jets and the terminal was expanded in 2014.1
the terminal at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) was expanded in 2014 to accommodate a 37% increase in the number of passengers since 2006
Source: Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport Authority, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report Year Ended June 20, 2015 (p.77)
One analyst predicted in 2015 that United would drop its CHO-IAD flight, since it feeds few customers into United's trips across the Atlantic Ocean. The carrier continued service, maintaining its domestic network even if there were relatively few international connections.2
American Airlines dropped its Charlottesville service to Chicago in November 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many pilots retired and there were not enough personnel for airlines to maintain all routes. United Airlines stopped flying from Charlottesville to Chicago in 2022, which eliminated all direct CHO-ORD flights.
Customers could still travel to Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) to catch a SkyWest flight to Chicago, but that option was about to close. SkyWest announced it would discontinue service at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) and 28 other airports in the summer of 2022, due to the pilot shortage.3
in March 2022, United still offered direct service from Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) to O'Hare Airport in Chicago (ORD)
Source: Charlottesville Albemarle Airport, Arrivals and Departures
After United Airlines dropped its direct CHO-ORD service. SkyWest (as United Express) still flew from Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) to O'Hare Airport in Chicago (ORD)
Source: SkyWest, Route Map
In 2022, traffic was still only 70% of the total recorded in 2019.
recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic was slow at Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO)
Source: Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO), CHO Airport Operating Statistics: Jan2023 stats
Nonetheless, in 2023 low-cost carrier Avelo began flying one round trip from Charlottesville to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) each Friday and Monday. That was the first service to Florida in a decade. Allegiant Air had chose to fly on Thursdays and Sundays; Avelo hoped passengers would chose either a short weekend visit with a return on Monday or a longer stay.
As with all service not subsidized by the Federal government, Avelo planned to continue flying only if the route was profitable. If passenger traffic did not meet the company's thresholds, service would be cancelled.4
aeronautical chart for area including Charlottesville Albemarle Airport (CHO) and Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD)