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Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines this week become direct competitors for passengers looking for low-cost nonstop flights from Northwest Arkansas to Las Vegas.

Frontier starts its XNA-to-Las Vegas trips for the first time on Friday, taking off every Friday and Monday.

Allegiant, which has served XNA travelers headed to Las Vegas with its less-than-daily service since June 2009, flies every Thursday and Sunday.

The low-cost carriers are sure to compete hard for Sin City travelers from the get-go, but it won’t be long before competition intensifies. That’s because Allegiant Air will start matching Frontier’s Friday-Monday schedule, starting in November.

While both airlines already offer heavenly pricing from XNA, the Las Vegas adjustment by Allegiant should create next-level competition that lowers airfares even more. It was easy on Friday to find roundtrips on either airline selling over the next several months for less than $200.

Once Frontier takes off on Friday, the two airlines will be selling more than 700 seats a week to Las Vegas, and XNA has never provided so many Las Vegas-bound travelers.

In 2019, XNA’s best year, passengers from XNA flew to Las Vegas about 480 times each week, and Allegiant carried about two-thirds of those travelers.

Travel to Las Vegas and just about every destination went way down once Covid-19 arrived.

What must be encouraging for both airlines is how much leisure travel bounced back at XNA this summer.

Allegiant flights to its various destinations from XNA averaged 141 passengers in June.

Frontier, which currently flies only to Denver, did even better. On average, its 180-seat planes carried 161 passengers in June.

Before the pandemic, Allegiant’s twice-a-week presence all by itself was enough to keep Las Vegas trips less expensive from XNA. Historically, Allegiant is the least expensive way to fly to Las Vegas from Northwest Arkansas.

Frontier had a similar impact on the XNA-to-Denver route when it arrived in 2019, charging far less than United for a nonstop to the Mile High City.