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Arkansas travelers apparently didn’t get the memo that January is supposed to be way less busy in the air travel world.

January, in fact, was record-breaking at Northwest Arkansas National Airport with passenger volumes indicative of springtime. With 70,716 passengers this year , the previous January best was 67,306 in 2019.

American Airlines, the airport’s busiest carrier, transported 55% of all XNA passengers last month. Its dominance was more than usual as it was responsible for carrying 50% of last year’s travelers.

Airlines add seat capacity

The airlines helped make a strong January possible by offering 7% more seats than in January 2023. On average, the airlines had about 2,980 seats for sale each day.

Much of the extra capacity was provided by American. It didn’t start its daily flight to Phoenix until February 2023 so that trip to Arizona is a big part of the 7%. It’s also offering more seats to Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago O’Hare.

Additionally, Allegiant Air flew nonstop to Fort Lauderdale in January this year. It paused that route throughout January 2023.

Breeze Airways has also added seats into the market. Its twice-a-week trip to Orlando started in March last year.

Having more seats available is meaningful as it increases the likelihood that XNA travelers will be able to find seats on flights at times they prefer to travel.

More capacity on its way

The airlines will be increasing their seat capacity at XNA in the coming months as they build toward maxed out schedules in the summer.

United Airlines, for example, filed a schedule change earlier this month that shows it will increase its capacity to Denver and Houston in May and June.

The airline still plans three nonstop flights a day to Denver, but one of those flights will utilize a 128-seat Airbus 319, the biggest plane United has ever scheduled to XNA. The larger plane will start being used on May 22.

United will increase its frequency to Houston from the usual three flights a day. The fourth flight starts May 23.

Delta Air Lines plans to restart its nonstop flight to New York LaGuardia on April 15, re-establishing its competition with American on that route. American flies to New York twice a day.

Delta has two other meaningful additions. On April 9, its schedule shows it will add a fifth daily flight to Atlanta. In June, it starts making a second daily trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul.

American, which flies nonstop to Miami on Saturdays for much of the year, turns that into a daily flight throughout June, July and August.