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New federal data shows the average domestic roundtrip airfare at Northwest Arkansas National Airport was $51 less expensive in 2019 than the previous year.

The information about the 9.5% decrease, shared by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, shows XNA’s domestic passengers paid $485 in 2019. It was the lowest annual average for domestic roundtrips since 2010.

International travelers, meanwhile, saved $14 when compared to 2018. The 2019 international average was $1,112.

Delta, American and United for years have provided excellent service at XNA, offering more nonstop flights to destinations than is typical for an airport with fewer than 1 million annual passengers. That excellent service and wide network of nonstop options has come with a consequence – roundtrip fares at XNA exceeded $500 in seven of the past 10 years.

While some of 2019’s lower-than-usual average fares can be attributed to the competition from XNA’s low-cost options Frontier and Allegiant, American, Delta and United charged less in 2019 than previous years. American’s average $518 roundtrip was $44 less than in 2018. Delta averaged $526; United $470.

The fares were far less expensive on Frontier and Allegiant.

Frontier, which started offering flights to Denver in mid-2019, charged $92 per roundtrip. Allegiant’saverage for its trips to Las Vegas, Nashville, Destin, Orlando/Sanford, Phoenix/Mesa and Los Angeles was $132 last year.

The bureau’s data shows domestic fares fell for the fourth consecutive quarter and the fourth-quarter of 2019 was especially good. The average domestic roundtrip sold for $448, $60 less than the same quarter of 2018. International travelers’ flights averaged $1,094, down $48 from a year earlier.

All of those less-expensive flights occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic crippled the airline industry. Flying was largely unaffected in January and February, but March has been an aviation and air travel nightmare.

XNA had more than 40 flights a day prior to March, but it’s now down to 35 and many of those scheduled flights end up being canceled by the airlines. That number is expected to decrease in the coming weeks.

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