The numbers are in, and Northwest Arkansas National Airport can chalk up 2022 as its second-best year.
The airport served by six airlines saw 836,195 passengers depart on flights. Airport administrators shared the year-end statistics on Tuesday.
American Airlines remained the No. 1 carrier as it provided flights to 48% of XNA’s travelers. Their nonstop flights take travelers to Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, New York LaGuardia, Washington Reagan, Miami, Charlotte and Los Angeles.
No. 2 United Airlines and No. 3 Delta Air Lines carried 16.5% and 15.4% of travelers, respectively.
Allegiant keeps adding
The airline that keeps growing its share of XNA travelers is Allegiant Air, which is now a solid No. 4 at 13%. It accounted for 5.2% in 2017 and has increased its percentage five consecutive years.
Allegiant has consistently added routes at XNA, starting out with flights to Orlando, Las Vegas and Los Angeles in its first few years. It’s added nonstop flights to airports in Destin, Phoenix/Mesa, Nashville and Fort Lauderdale in more recent years.
No. 5 Frontier Airlines (4.5%) and No. 6 Breeze Airways (2.4%) also serve XNA.
The airport’s busiest year was 2019, when about 922,000 passengers took off as airlines started flights to new cities. XNA’s traffic that year was boosted by a new airline (Frontier to Denver), flights to new cities (Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix/Mesa, Miami) and a lower average cost of flying ($472 roundtrip in 2019 vs. $520 in 2018).
Encouraging start to 2023
It appears 2023 at XNA is off to a good start, but it’s far too early to see a long-term pattern. Still, it’s good to see the number of people passing through XNA’s security checkpoint in this year’s first 15 days was far ahead of 2019 and 2022.
Additionally, XNA should see its number of travelers going west increase markedly. The airport needed more of its flights to go west, and that’s going to be improved soon as American Airlines starts nonstop service to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Feb. 3. That will be followed by a Breeze Airways twice-a-week flight to Phoenix that starts Feb. 17.
Breeze will also begin nonstop flights to Orlando International Airport on March 3. That Orlando flight has the additional wrinkle of a “BreezeThru” to Charleston. That means a passenger will depart on the flight to Orlando, stay on the plane when it lands at Orlando, and continue on to Charleston after about a 30-minute wait.