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American Airlines continued its steady expansion at the Northwest Arkansas National Airport, sending its first nonstop flight to Miami this morning.

The flight that took off represents the national airport’s 19th nonstop destination.

The 76-seat Embraer 175 that left XNA this morning was packed with leisure travelers – including University of Arkansas students headed home to Bolivia, Curaçao and Miami for Christmas, an Alma couple bound for an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, a Walmart data analytics worker and his family headed home to Grenada, and a group traveling to Colombia for a wedding.

American has been committed to XNA since its opening in 1998 and was the first to move its service from Fayetteville’s Drake Field.

At first, American’s flights took travelers to Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare only, but that didn’t last long.

By 2004, its list of flights included nonstops to Los Angeles, New York and St. Louis. While St. Louis service went away, American today offers nonstop service to eight airports from XNA: Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

This year has been especially good to XNA’s busiest airline. XNA’s number of passengers through the year’s first 11 months is up 16.2%, but American’s boardings are 19.9% higher.

American’s flights carry about 51% of all XNA travelers.

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