September was the Northwest Arkansas National Airport’s seventh consecutive month of record-breaking traffic.
Data provided by the airport Friday shows 84,824 people boarded flights last month. That’s 7,764 more passengers than September 2019, the previous best September.
February was the last time XNA didn’t have a record month. It fell 3,500 passengers short of the same month in 2020, which was the last month before COVID-19’s spread led to millions of Americans avoiding air travel.
After seven terrific months, XNA remains on its way to a record-breaking year. In 2019, the airport saw 922,000 people board flights and establishing its high mark.
The 736,742 passengers through the first nine months this year are 19.3% more than in 2022. If it maintains the growth rate in October, November and December, it’ll end the year with 998,000 passengers.
Airline providing more options
The increase in passengers can be attributed, at least in part, to the airlines offering more flights. They keep adding seats on a consistent basis.
The most notable improvement came from American Airlines, which added daily service to Phoenix in February.
The five airlines serving XNA made about 3,150 seats a day available for purchase in September. That was 480 more than a year earlier.
Many of those seats were added by American, which added Phoenix and flew more often to Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare than in 2022.
United Airlines and Breeze Airways were in the sky more often, too.
Breeze, which flew throughout September to Orlando and Tampa, flew only to Tampa last September. Its flights to New Orleans were paused in September both years.
United flew more often than a year ago to all of its destinations: Chicago O’Hare, Houston and Denver.
The other notable capacity increase was at Allegiant Air. The airline, which flies twice a week from to most of its destinations, went more often to Nashville and Destin. Its flights to those cities and three others last month carried 7,545 passengers, 18.6% more than September 2022.