The availability of new low-cost flights to Denver and Nashville contributed to record-breaking enplanements at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.
For the second consecutive month, the airport announced that it broke its record for the number of passengers boarding flights in a single month. There were 91,305 passengers in June, beating the previous record of 85,892 in May of this year.
The summer months, and especially June, are traditionally the busiest times of the year at XNA.
June, in particular, is always fantastic for the airport as thousands of people pour into the region for the annual Walmart shareholders’ meeting and the impressive events that occur during the month’s first few days.
What was different about this June this year were the new nonstop flights to Nashville offered by Allegiant Air, which started June 6. Frontier Airlines contributed later in the month, taking its big planes on nonstop trips to Denver three times a week, beginning June 27.
Allegiant contributed in others ways, too, notably its decision to fly more often to Las Vegas. The airline flies that route on Sundays and Thursdays, but it added a Tuesday flight this summer.
The record-breaking June traffic at XNA is also notable because the regional airport far exceeded its previous best month. The June traffic was 6.3 percent higher than its best month ever. It’s not often a new record exceeds a previous high by such a large margin.
The airport for the year has boarded 15 percent more passenger than during the first six months of 2018. At its current pace, XNA would finish the year with a 906,000 passengers. That would be remarkable and far more than the 788,000 who boarded flights in 2018.
The credit for what’s happening goes to the airlines serving the airport as they’ve increased how frequently they fly from XNA, and they’ve increased the passenger capacity of the planes they are using. It also goes to business travelers, who’ve prioritized flying from XNA for years, and leisure travelers, who appear to be increasingly taking advantage of low-cost flights being sold to destinations such as Orlando, Las Vegas, New York and Denver.
More changes and additions are on their way at XNA.
American Airlines, for example, will start using larger planes on most flights to Dallas/Fort Worth, beginning in September. The bigger American Airlines planes provide seat capacity.
More important are the new nonstop flights planned by American to two cities not yet served from XNA. The airline begins Philadelphia service in September and it takes off for Miami in December.