Domestic airfares decreased 5.7 percent at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows. There are strong reasons XNA fares should continue to fall in the coming months.
The federal data, made public on Wednesday, shows the average domestic round-trip fare from XNA decreased to $519.58 in the first quarter of this year. That’s compared to $551.11 in the first quarter 2018.
It’s likely that XNA’s fares today are far lower than a few months ago because low-cost Frontier Airlines entered the Northwest Arkansas market in June. Additionally, Allegiant Air significantly increased its number of flights to the airport this summer, providing low-cost options for budget-minded travelers.
The quarterly fare information that’s made public by the bureau is based on a 10 percent, random sample of all domestic airfares purchased by passengers.
While the XNA fares improved in the first quarter, future federal reports should show even less expensive domestic fares because of Frontier and Allegiant. Second quarter data will be released in mid-October, but it’s the third quarter report released in February 2020 that will be most telling when it comes to XNA and its new low-cost air service.
The second-quarter report will capture much of the impact of summertime changes made by Allegiant. Allegiant expanded the frequency of flights from XNA to Destin, Orlando and Las Vegas this summer, and it added a summer-only route to Nashville that ends in August.
The third-quarter report will include the full impact of Frontier Airlines, which started flying to Denver on June 27.
Passengers headed to Denver on United Airlines used to pay more than $500 per roundtrip, but now those United round-trip fares fall to less than $250 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. That’s because low-cost carrier Frontier, which often has round-trip fares of less than $150, flies from XNA to Denver on those three days.
It’s not only those trips to Denver and the Allegiant destination where fares are good right now.
The competition between American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United in the New York market has dramatically decreased those costs, and affordable fares have been available to and from there for more than a year. Delta and American, in fact, have $207 round-trip fare on certain days in September and October from XNA to New York LaGuardia, travel website Kayak indicates. United charges the same price for some of its roundtrips to its Newark hub.
Additionally, several Florida destinations, including Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Jacksonville, can be reached for less than $250 roundtrip, Kayak shows.
Pictured at the top: Estes Park National Park is one of the attractions that’s of interest to summertime vacationers headed to Denver. Low fares being charged by airlines at the Northwest Arkansas Regional for flights to Denver should lead to more travel. Both Frontier and United airlines provide nonstop service from XNA to Denver. Photo by Peter Pryharski