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With school back in session and fall business travel not ramped up, September is rarely a big month at U.S. airports.

Northwest Arkansas National Airport had a solid month anyway.

The 72,521 passengers who boarded flights at XNA last month led to the second-biggest September in the airport’s 24 years. September 2019 saw 77,060 passengers.

The passenger trends suggest XNA is headed for about 830,000 passengers by year’s end. It would be XNA’s second-best year. The best was 2019 (922,533 passengers).

Less Allegiant Traffic

What’s notable in the September statistics is how XNA’s leading low-cost carrier was a far smaller percentage of the overall traffic.

Allegiant Air, the busiest of the three low-cost airlines at XNA, carrying just 9% of the September travelers. During June, July and August, leisure travelers took advantage of the airline’s nonstop flights to popular summertime destinations in Florida and other places, and the airline carried 17.4% of the airport’s travelers during the three months.

That drop off in business for Allegiant is typical of the airline’s experiences nationwide as it often suspends service to some of its destinations in the early fall before restarting them a few weeks or a few months later.

American Airlines is always XNA’s dominant carrier. It carried 35,901 people last month, adding up to 49.5% of all travelers.

October Changes

October should be interesting as it always sees the most post-summer travel. It far exceeds November and December, too, even with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays boosting leisure trips during those months.

Some nonstop routes have returned now that September has passed.

Breeze Airways, which flew nonstop to Tampa throughout the summer, restarted its twice-a-week trips to New Orleans last week.

Allegiant, meanwhile, has restarted its nonstops to St. Pete/Clearwater after they were paused throughout September. They take off every Thursday and Sunday, creating the perfect setup for a weekend getaway.

Allegiant makes one other addition, and that comes in November. It restarts twice-a-week service to Phoenix/Mesa on Nov. 17. That seasonal service should continue until next spring.

Not everything is rosy, though.

XNA is experiencing a big decrease in service to the New York City market as both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are cutting routes with no plans to bring them back.

Delta’s nonstop to New York LaGuardia ends Nov. 4. United has already ended its flights from XNA to Newark.

Additionally, Frontier Airlines is about to end its Las Vegas flights from XNA. After competing with Allegiant on the route since August 2021, the last Frontier flight from XNA to Sin City is Nov. 4.