People who flew from Northwest Arkansas National Airport earlier this year saved $114 compared to if they had made the same trip two years earlier.
The average domestic roundtrip flight from XNA in this year’s second quarter (April 1 to June 30) sold for $374. The cost averaged $488 in the second quarter 2019.
The data, compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation, was analyzed by Volaire Aviation Consulting after it became available on Monday. The two-year decrease in costs is consistent with what happened at airports nationwide as all of them were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, causing many people to stay away from airports for several months and slowing business travel in a big way.
By this year’s second quarter, airfares at XNA had started to increase after first being impacted by the pandemic since March 2020. Domestic fares from XNA appear to have bottomed out during the third quarter of 2020 at $272 roundtrip and they’ve increased at a slow, steady pace since then.
XNA’s second quarter average of $374 is far less than how much airlines charged at XNA in previous years. For example, the second quarter five years ago had a $512 average, and annual average fares above $500 used to be common at XNA.
That started to change in 2019 when XNA saw its busiest year ever and the annual average fell to $485.
In the second quarter this year, the No. 1 destination from XNA was Orlando. While most of the 91 people a day who flew to Orlando from XNA traveled on Allegiant Air, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines had a good portion of those Florida-bound travelers. The average fare paid by the 91 travelers was $232, but it was the Allegiant travelers who got the best deal at $144.
The other Top 5 destinations from XNA and the average roundtrip fares paid by passengers were Los Angeles ($376), Las Vegas ($230), Dallas/Fort Worth ($380) and Denver ($200).
The limited business travel that occurred from XNA in the second quarter this year changed where cities such as New York rank. New York was XNA’s No. 1 destination in the second quarter of 2019 with 190 people a day flying to the city, but it ranked 10th in the second quarter this year with just 46 trips. Travel was way down to a few other business-focused destinations, including Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
There’s a good chance the third-quarter stats from XNA will be significantly different as the airport had a far higher number of low-cost flights being offered.
Those new low-cost offerings that were available during this year’s third quarter include the twice-a-week flights on Frontier Airlines to Las Vegas, Allegiant Air’s nonstop flights to Austin and St. Pete/Clearwater, and Breeze Airways flights to New Orleans, San Antonio and Tampa.