Plane parked at gate

Sasquatch, vampires, unicorns; they all share one common trait. They’re all fantasy. And yet, myths have developed over centuries to explain their fictitious existence.

Unlike the fantastical tales that explain these well-known fantasies, myths about the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport will never achieve Dracula status. But in the valley that we call home, they have been passed from person to person with enough passion to blur the line between make-believe and reality.

And we’re here to set the record straight.

  1. The airport determines fares and destinations.
    Myth! Airlines, and airlines alone, set fares and flight schedules. Commission staff are in constant communication with airlines advocating for additional service, new destinations, and lower fares, but in the end the airline makes the decision.
  2. The airport refuses to invest the money required to attract new low fare airlines.
    Myth! Because the airport receives federal funds for airport projects such as runway and taxiway improvements, the Commission is prohibited from giving money to airlines in return for service.
  3. Airlines cancel flights at ROA because the planes are not full.
    Myth! Flights at ROA travel to and from a hub airport. Planes will make the trip regardless of how many seats are filled to transport the aircraft and crew to their next destination.
  4. ROA flights are expensive because the airport charges airlines too much.
    Myth! Airlines alone determine what to charge for their services. As a commission, we are not supported by city or county tax revenue. Our fees are kept as low as possible to cover our expenses and are in line with similar airports in the region.
  5. If Roanoke and Lynchburg would have joined forces and built a regional airport in Bedford, we would have better air service.
    Myth! Air service is driven by demand and demand is a function of population density. In the Roanoke/Bedford/Lynchburg region the combined population is still less than half of Greensboro, NC, the next largest airport in the region. Showing carriers there is demand for their product is the best way to increase air service.
  6. The runways are too short for large planes to land here.
    Myth! While it’s true that you won’t see an Airbus 380 double-decker landing at ROA any time soon, residents have witnessed Air Force One, a Boeing 747, performing touch-and-goes from time to time. Each airline has its own unique fleet of aircraft and routes. Airlines examine demand and choose the appropriately sized plane for the market. Large aircraft currently serving our region include the MD80, A300, A320, and 757.
  7. Roanoke City controls the airport commission and is funded by tax dollars.
    Myth! The five-member commission is appointed by the City and County however, the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission is an independent governing body and has been since 1987. The Commission receives no funding from the City or County and must generate its own operating revenue.
  8. ROA missed the opportunity to become a major hub.
    Myth! Decades ago, Piedmont had considered making ROA its hub, but true to form of any major airline, its decision to locate in Charlotte instead was purely a business decision based on the size of the market.
  9. Airport employees fly for free, so why would they care how much a flight costs.
    Myth! Only airline employees are eligible to receive free flights. Similar to the owner of a mall, the Commission rents space to airlines and other tenants, such as restaurants and the gift shop. Mall employees do not receive free clothing from Hot Topic. And Roanoke Regional Airport Commission employees do not receive free flights.
  10. Kissing in front of the airport is strictly prohibited and vigorously enforced.
    Myth! Okay. This one is a shameless plug for our Kiss & Fly zone. You got us.