Leaders at Northwest Arkansas National Airport think a parking discount for air travelers might be just the ticket to increase flying next month.
Administrators told the airport’s operations committee earlier today that they’re mapping out exactly what the promotion will include and how they’ll go about sharing the details with Northwest Arkansas residents who may be interested in traveling in March.
March is traditionally one of the airport’s better travel months, and it’s often when families take advantage of schools’ spring breaks to head to Florida and other warm-weather destinations. As travelers size up the cost of traveling from XNA vs. other airports in March, they’ll have to account for the less expensive parking at XNA in their evaluation.
Two ideas discussed at today’s meeting were offering a coupon that would provide a discount to travelers who park in certain lots, or potentially focusing a discount entirely on the airport’s underutilized, $14-a-day parking deck. Spots in the deck are near the airport’s front entrance, and airport staff talked about charging $6 to $8 a day during some period of time in March.
Other options will be explored as well.
The least expensive parking option at XNA right now is the economy lot at $6 a day. The highest rate is for the short-term lot at $24.
It’s not common for airports to discount their parking, but it does happen from time to time.
In Colorado Springs, the airport last year reduced the cost of parking in its long-term lot from $7 a day to $3.50 during the Thanksgiving and December holiday seasons.
In California, Oakland International Airport gave four days of free parking in 2019 to summertime travelers who boarded nonstop flights to Hawaii and Europe. The Oakland perk was valued at $96.
At XNA, airport officials believe the discounting could have a revenue impact of $20,000 to $25,000, but a portion of that could be offset if it leads to an overall increase in travel.
“It’s not expensive to try it and see if it leads more people toward leisure travel,” said Sara Lilygren, a member of the airport board.