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Northwest Arkansas National Airport officials knew the COVID-19 pandemic would make March passenger statistics terrible.

The statistics shared by the airport this week show March was every bit as bad as they had expected, and the statistics are likely to get worse before they improve.

March was XNA’s worst month since January 2009 as the airport saw just 33,792 passengers board flights to leave Northwest Arkansas as Americans started practicing social distancing, leisure travelers canceled trips and most businesses prevented their employees from flying.

XNA saw 70,463 passengers in March 2019.

After record-breaking travel from XNA in 2019, XNA’s 2020 traffic remained strong through March 12. Nearly 28,000 of the 33,792 passengers came in the month’s first 12 days as the airport averaged about 2,300 passengers a day. COVID-19’s impact took over after that. There were fewer than 700 passengers on March 17, and fewer than 150 each day in the final days of the month.

The biggest March travel declines when compared to the same month in 2019 were experienced by XNA’s primary airlines: Delta (- 62%), American (-53%) and United (-53%).

April at XNA is likely to end up being less busy than March as April won’t have the benefit of a good first 12 days. Travel didn’t take a nosedive at XNA until mid-month, and every day in April is certain to see COVID-19’s impact.

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