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If you were pressed to say what has the greatest economic impact in Northwest Arkansas, what would your answer be?

We’d certainly list the University of Arkansas, the Beaver Water District, the Walmart Home Office and a few others that make huge contributions to the economy, but none of those impact our region in the unique way that the Northwest Arkansas National Airport, its airlines and car rental agencies do.

Did You Know?

The Economic Impact of Arkansas Airports, a study published by the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics, said XNA’s impact in 2016 was $463.3 million. Its presence in the region supports 5,807 jobs.


Jobs That XNA Supports


More People Flying From XNA in 2018 than 2017


Economic Impact of XNA


For Every Passenger

Progress is Possible

The number of people flying from XNA was 12.6 percent higher in 2018 compared to 2016 so it’s reasonable to assume the airport’s economic impact now tops $500 million annually. Yet, it could be far, far more, and it’s going to take a communitywide effort to ensure that Northwest Arkansas gets every possible economic benefit from having XNA in our region.

One way to do that is to fly more often from XNA, and to reduce how often people drive to more distant airports to catch flights. We know XNA’s leakage is high, and our FareFlightNWA program was established to keep more people flying from our home airport.

James Irwin, a member of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority back in the day, used to say every passenger departing from XNA brought the airport about $20. It came in taxes, parking fees and the $4.50 passenger facility charge that’s part of every airline fare. The rule of thumb then and now is $20, on average.

That $20 you spend provides a direct benefit to our region. It benefits local jobs and makes it possible for the companies that operate in Arkansas and at XNA to grow.

The Time is Now

The most important benefit of spending that $20 at XNA is you’ll be helping drive up XNA’s passenger count and that gets the attention of the airlines. You become part of causing Allegiant Air, American, Delta, Frontier and United to increase how much they fly from XNA and you help the airport get the attention of JetBlue, Southwest and all the airlines we want to serve XNA sooner rather than later.