Led by American Airlines and Allegiant Air, Northwest Arkansas National Airport had its best full month since the COVID-19 pandemic began slowing air travel nationwide earlier this year.

XNA saw 25,739 people board flights in July. It’s a far cry from the 91,222 people who boarded flights at XNA in July 2019, but it’s comparable to the combined number of people who boarded flights at XNA in April, May and June (28,525).

American, which departed 372 times from XNA during the month, accounted for 58% of all XNA travelers. Yet, the American Airlines flights averaged just 40 passengers apiece, compared to 64 passengers per flight in July 2019.

Allegiant, which is typically the airport’s No. 4 carrier behind American, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, has stayed at No. 2 this summer. July was its best month of the year with 4,998 passengers. The airline benefits at XNA from an annual shift in travel patterns when summertime vacationers become a greater portion of all travel that occurs.

The airline’s planes averaged 146 passengers per flight in July 2019; the average was 86 last month.

While all five airlines serving XNA now require every passenger to wear a face mask to decrease the possibility of spreading coronavirus, there’s a concern in the airline industry and at airports that travel could take a step backwards in the fall. That’s because personal and family trips that occurred in the summer may not be replaced by business travelers who tend to dominate U.S. airports in the fall.

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