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