Passengers who flew from Northwest Arkansas National Airport in the first three months of this year saved a combined $11.1 million compared to if they had made the same trips in early 2019.
The new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, made public this week, shows the average domestic roundtrip traveler saved $72 when compared to the same quarter last year. International trips were $34 less expensive.
The $72 decrease is the largest fare decline at XNA since 2009. Domestic airfares have decreased for five consecutive quarters and in seven of the last eight quarters.
In the quarter, XNA passengers found lower domestic airfares on Allegiant (18.1% less costly), United (15% less), American (11.9% less) and Delta (4% less). The airport’s fifth airline — low-cost carrier Frontier — didn’t serve XNA until June 2019 so a comparison is not possible.
The airport continued its pattern of seeing lower fares overall with domestic roundtrips, averaging $432 during the first quarter this year. The average domestic trip in the nation fell to $336, a 6% decline from the first quarter last year.
With 147,300 domestic trips from XNA during the first quarter of 2020, the $72 savings adds up a huge regional savings of $10.6 million. International travelers saved a combined $458,000.
The federal data shows passengers found their best deals on Frontier and Allegiant.
Frontier’s roundtrips to Denver averaged just $54. While 90% of Frontier’s travelers end their trips in Denver, those who made connections to continue on to places such as Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa and Salt Lake City found low prices, too. Frontier’s average XNA traveler paid $66 roundtrip.
Allegiant, which jetted people off to Orlando/Sanford, Las Vegas, Phoenix/Mesa, Destin and Nashville, found their best deals on trips to the Music City. Allegiant’s Nashville flights averaged $66 roundtrip; all Allegiant travelers averaged $116 during the quarter.
Low airfares were found on trips to many cities. It’s not just the presence of low-cost carriers that’s creating competition that’s often credited for driving down fares.
The best example is the XNA-Chicago O’Hare route. Both American and United fly nonstop between the cities and the average traveler paid $450 roundtrip. It was a 25.9% decrease from a year earlier.