Northwest Arkansas National Airport only a decade ago didn’t have a single month where it topped 60,000 outbound passengers.
Now it’s commonplace, as the airport saw 77,704 passengers in April, which was the airport’s 14th consecutive month of more than 60,000 passengers.
The airport earlier today shared its statistics, and they provide some details about just how busy XNA is this year.
Last month was XNA’s best April in 25 years, putting those 77,000 passengers on almost 1,100 flights. Its previous best was April 2019 when it saw 71,557 people fly.
American Airlines and its regional airline partners amounted to 52% of April’s passengers. No. 2 United Airlines carried 17% followed by No. 3 Delta Air Lines (14%).
The airport’s low-cost carriers — Allegiant Air, Breeze Airways and Frontier Airlines — were responsible for everyone else (18%).
The low-cost carriers are almost certain to be a higher percentage of the airport’s travelers as summer vacationers fill more of the airlines’ seats in June, July and August. Their success will be essential to XNA having a record-breaking 2023.
What’s most remarkable about XNA is just how much travel exceeds 2019, XNA’s busiest year when 922,000 passengers boarded flights. So far this year, XNA has boarded 27,423 more passengers than it did in January, February, March and April in 2019.
Its passengers are about 10.7% more than 2019 so far. If that 10.7% increase sticks, XNA will top 1 million passengers by year’s end.
Whether XNA hits the 1 million-passenger mark rests with leisure travelers as the flight makeup at XNA is substantially different than 2019.
XNA in 2019 had nonstop flights to business destinations such as San Francisco and Newark, but those are no longer offered. The frequency of flights going to business destinations Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and Atlanta is down, too.
In their place are leisure-centric, nonstop flights to cities such as Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and New Orleans. Those flights on low-cost carriers weren’t available in 2019.
What happens nationally could also determine whether 2023 is record-setting. Factors such as the national pilot shortage and supply chain issues that are slowing some plane deliveries could impact how the airlines operate at XNA.