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The king of the hill at Northwest Arkansas National Airport wasn’t about to let another airline fly into one of its hubs without a response.

That’s probably why American Airlines over the weekend added a daily nonstop flight to Phoenix Sky Harbor to its schedule. The flights start Feb. 3.

American added the flight after Breeze Airways on Wednesday announced that it would fly twice-a-week to the same Phoenix airport, starting Feb. 17.

3 Phoenix Options

The new flights give XNA three airlines going nonstop to the Phoenix metro. Allegiant Air offers seasonal service to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, and those twice-a-week flights restart Nov. 17.

With American, Allegiant and Breeze all going to Phoenix, it will be just the second time XNA has had three airlines offering nonstop trips to the same metropolitan area.

New York had American, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines all flying nonstop. United ended its nonstop to Newark earlier this year, and Delta Air Lines will soon stop making its XNA-to-New York LaGuardia fights.

In 2021, the Phoenix metropolitan area ranked as the 12th largest destination among people who live in XNA’s so-called catchment area. That area, which includes nine Arkansas counties as well as portions of six counties in Oklahoma and Missouri, sees about 59 people a day make a flight to Phoenix on a commercial jet.

About 60% of those 59 travelers used XNA last year.

Allegiant had the largest share of those who used XNA to get to Phoenix and sold fares that averaged $98 roundtrip. American Airlines wasn’t far behind with most of its travelers connecting through Dallas/Fort Worth and paying an average of $488 roundtrip.

American’s Dominance

American Airlines remains XNA’s dominant carrier, as has been the case since the airport’s 1998 opening. The airline carries between 43% and 54% of XNA’s passengers each year.

While American has provided nonstop flights from XNA to its hubs at Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Charlotte, New York LaGuardia, Washington Reagan and Los Angeles for years, it’s never offered nonstops from XNA to its Phoenix hub.

American has tried nonstops to its Miami hub a few times over the years. Those flights in recent weeks have been Saturday only, but they’ll return to daily on Nov. 3.

It also tried flights from XNA to its Philadelphia hub in September 2019. Those flights ended after a few months.