Northwest Arkansas National Airport’s superb passenger numbers month after month suggest 2023 is almost certain to be the airport’s best year.
Airport administrators on Wednesday shared the latest XNA statistics, showing August was the eighth consecutive month with more passengers than the same month in 2019.
The airport’s best full year was 2019 with about 922,000 passengers. Barring an unexpected circumstance, there’s every indication that 2023 will end with more passengers having boarded flights.
XNA saw 84,904 people board flights in August, a time when the volume of leisure travelers starts to fade because schoolchildren head back to the classroom. That figure beat August 2019 by 5,322.
New flights in 2023
Flights to new places often drive up an airport’s traffic. That happened often in 2019 as Frontier Airlines started offering flights to Denver and American Airlines came through with nonstops to Miami and Philadelphia.
The airlines have helped drive traffic at XNA this year, too, by providing new options.
Launched in February, American Airlines had the most significant addition when it started selling daily nonstops to Phoenix. Those continue to be offered.
Breeze Airways earlier this year offered twice-a-week trips to Phoenix and tried Breeze-Thru flights from XNA to Charleston via Orlando. The trips to Phoenix and Charleston didn’t persist for long, but the airline does continue going to Orlando as well as Tampa and New Orleans.
American led August
In August, American carried 40,773 passengers from XNA to their final destinations. Its nonstop flights go to Phoenix but also seven other places: Los Angeles, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago O’Hare, New York LaGuardia, Miami and Washington Reagan.
United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, the airport’s No. 2 and 3 carriers, provided XNA flights for another 29,907 people.
While low-cost carriers Breeze, Allegiant Air and Frontier often provide flights to more than 20% of the airport’s travelers in the summer months, they transported 14,196 (17.7%) of travelers in August. The low-cost carriers’ portion is likely to decrease further through the remainder of 2023.