Domestic airfares at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport decreased 9.3% during the second quarter of 2019, according to new data released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
The average domestic round-trip fare of $491.94 at the regional airport is the lowest reported since the third quarter of 2016.
The quarterly fare information is based on a 10%, random sample of all domestic airfares purchased by passengers. The data was released on Tuesday.
The regional airport’s average domestic fare during the quarter decreased by $50.65 compared to same quarter in 2018.
XNA’s 9.3% decrease came at a time when fares are rising across the U.S. The statistics show the national average increased from $349.17 to $364.41 during that same one-year period. Average fares at both Tulsa and Kansas City, which draw significant portions of Northwest Arkansas air travelers, increased as well.
Leisure travelers may have noticed XNA’s improved fares as more affordable destinations are showing up on travel-focused websites. Round-trip fares to New York, for instance, can be found for about $200, and that opportunity has been created by the competition between American, Delta and United. All three airlines fly from XNA to the New York market.
FareFlightNWA, a program of the Northwest Arkansas Council established earlier this year, has worked to draw attention to low fares at the airport. It’s a Council priority because increasing the number of travelers using XNA increases the likelihood that airlines will expand their offerings at the airport.
While outside factors such as fuel prices influence fares at XNA and other airports, there’s a good chance that the third quarter domestic fare will show even lower fares in Northwest Arkansas.
Frontier’s direct route to Denver was not reflected in the second quarter report. However, Frontier’s presence at XNA has put pressure on United to lower fares to the Mile High City.
Fares are impacted by low-cost carrier Allegiant Air as well. Its seasonal service to Nashville and increased summertime trips to Destin probably played a role in the improved second-quarter fares, and it should reduce the airport’s average when the third-quarter numbers are released early next year.
The 9.3% decrease at XNA was the second consecutive quarter in which the airport saw improvement. The first quarter’s average fare this year was $519.58 (compared to $551.11 in the first quarter 2018) – a 5.7% improvement.
Pictured at the top: For most of 2019, New York has remained one of the most affordable destinations that can be reached from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The round-trip fares on Delta, American and United are often near $200.