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Northwest Arkansas National Airport is about two-thirds of the way back to what could be viewed as its normal amount of travel prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airport saw 48,942 people board flights in February, typically one of the slowest months for air travel. That number of passengers was superior to February 2021 when just 22,022 passengers flew from XNA.

Travel picks up in March and stays strong through October most years.

Incentivized Routes

The statistics provided by XNA today make it possible to see how the airlines receiving landing fee waivers are performing. The airport collects more data from airlines receiving the two-year waiver.

Allegiant Air, which receives the waiver on its nonstop trips to Punta Gorda, Houston Hobby, St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Fort Lauderdale and Austin, is seeing its strongest support for the Fort Lauderdale flights. Of the eight flights last month to Fort Lauderdale, Allegiant had an average of 107 of the plane’s 177 seats filled by passengers. The airline started offering that trip in October last year.

The other incentivized routes sold by Allegiant averaged between 55 and 74 passengers each last month.

Breeze Airways, which flies 108- and 118-seat planes from XNA to New Orleans, San Antonio and Tampa, averaged 67 passengers per trip last month.

DFW, Chicago remain primary

While low-cost carriers Allegiant, Breeze and Frontier Airlines in recent months have added new destinations from XNA, legacy carriers American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines do the majority of the flying. Of the 32 flights that will depart from XNA on a typical day this month, 28 will be provided by the legacy carriers.

Dallas/Fort Worth, which is served by XNA’s largest carrier American, and Chicago O’Hare are the airlines’ most frequent destinations from XNA.

American is flying to DFW six times a day this month. Flights to Chicago, sold by American and United, are also in the air six times daily.

Delta offers four and sometimes five flights a day f to its Atlanta hub from XNA.