Aug 17, 2023 - News

Northwest Arkansas National Airport shoots for the sky

A photo of people waiting at an airport terminal.

People wait to board flights at Northwest Arkansas National Airport. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Northwest Arkansas National Airport is on pace for a record year.

Driving the news: There were nearly 94,000 enplanements — tickets purchased to fly out — at XNA in July, up 18.5% from last year.

The big picture: Americans are still itching to see beyond their own neighborhoods after the pandemic. AAA reported that 51 million people nationwide planned to travel by car and/or plane — a record — during last month's Fourth of July weekend.

The intrigue: XNA fares averaged 5% less at $470 during the first quarter of this year versus 2019, according to FareFlight.

  • Low-cost carriers — Allegiant Air, Breeze Airways and Frontier Airlines — were much lower, averaging $125 per ticket during the first quarter.

By the numbers: There were 566,561 enplanements at XNA between Jan. 1 and July 30, up 19.5% percent from 474,288 for the same period last year.

  • The year started strong, with about 62,300 enplanements in January, up from 48,700 a year before.
  • A total of 836,195 departed the airport in 2022.
  • T0tal departures were 621,942 in 2021 and dipped to 360,133 in 2020, the year the pandemic threw a wrench in most air travel.

What we're watching: Travel out of XNA tends to remain strong through the fall, but less than in peak summer months.

  • Some airlines have added nonstop flights to the area, catering to Arkansas Razorback enthusiasts, so it'll be interesting to see if the Hogs are a draw.

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