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Breeze Airways on Friday begins its first nonstop flight from Northwest Arkansas National Airport to Phoenix.

The expanding, low-cost carrier joins American Airlines, which started flying daily to Phoenix on Feb. 3, and low-cost Allegiant Air as selling nonstop trips to the nation’s 10th largest metropolitan area. Allegiant established its seasonal service to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in 2019.

For Breeze, Phoenix will be the airline’s third nonstop destination from XNA. It’s flown nonstop from XNA to Tampa and New Orleans since mid-2021. A Breeze nonstop flight to Orlando that’s on the ground just 30 minutes before going on to Charleston starts March 3.

Breeze made its plan to fly to Phoenix public in October. American just a few days later announced its own nonstop service to Phoenix, making the Valley of the Sun into the only destination served by three airlines from XNA.

Fares way less on Breeze, Allegiant

What’s been interesting to monitor is American’s reaction to the low-cost offerings of Breeze and Allegiant on flights to Phoenix. In short, it hasn’t reacted at all. American’s airfares remain far more expensive than Breeze and Allegiant.

How much more?

FareFlightNWA used Google Flights earlier today to compare the average cost of one-way flights from XNA to Phoenix in April and May.

American’s one-way fare averages $305. On most days, it sells for $278, but it’s $356 or more on 19 days during the two months.

By comparison, Breeze, which plans to fly from XNA to the same Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport every Monday and Friday, had an average one-way fare of $64. It’s sometimes as little as $49, and it’s never more than $99.

Allegiant, which goes every Thursday and Sunday to the Phoenix-Mesa airport, averaged $89 for the one-way trip. It ranged from $59 to $142.

If you use the averages, it means a family of four can fly Breeze to Phoenix for about $200 each way plus the cost of checked and carry-on bags. The same trip on Allegiant would be about $400 plus fees, and American would charge roughly $1,220 plus fees.

Expect more Phoenix Traffic

What’s almost certain is that XNA will see a meaningful increase in the number of people taking advantage of the nonstop flights to Phoenix.

That’s exactly what happened when Breeze and Allegiant both started flying twice a week to the Tampa metro in 2021. That resulted in XNA’s traffic to Tampa rising from 20 people per day to more than 80.

It could be that the Phoenix travel boost won’t be as big because Allegiant has already captured many of the travelers headed there. Before Allegiant started flying the route, Phoenix averaged 27 travelers a day from XNA. The most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows it has increased to about 43 people daily.