Traffic at the state’s three largest commercial airports improved in May, according to the latest data. And year-to-date traffic through the first five months is up at all three locations.
Enplanements — or outbound passengers — at Fort Smith Regional Airport, the state’s third-largest airport, totaled 35,520 in the January-May period, up 6.14% from the same five-month period in 2016. Enplanements in the month of May were up just slightly, from 8,448 in May 2016 to 8,507 this year.
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) in Highfill, the second-largest airport in the state, totaled 263,484 in January-May, up 4.79% from 251,427 in the year-ago period. May enplanements totaled 61,847, up 1.4% from 60,977 enplanements in May 2016.
Enplanements at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock are up 2.12% through the first five months of the year, from 391,701 in the January-May period last year to 399,988 this year. May enplanements were also up at the airport, from 95,082 a year ago to 97,332 this year, an improvement of 2.37%
U.S. RAIL TRAFFIC UP ALMOST 7%
Total U.S. railroad traffic for the first five months of 2017 was 5.63 million carloads, up 6.8% from the January-May period last year. Intermodal units in May were 5.77 million. Up 2.3% from last year.
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending June 17 was 543,179 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 5.2% from the same week of 2016
Total carloads for the period were 266,402 carloads, up 6.2% compared with the same week in 2016, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 276,777 containers and trailers, up 4.3% compared to 2016.
Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2016.
ARKANSAS RIVER TRAFFIC DOWN 7%
Traffic on the Arkansas River (McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System) was down 7% through the first five months of the year, as heavy rainfall throughout the spring led to a brief suspension of towing operations in May.
Information from the U.S. Corps of Engineers shows that 4.58 million tons were shipped January-May, off from the 3.91 million tons during the same period of 2016.
Rains that began to fall in March and through April in areas of Oklahoma feeding into the Arkansas River watershed resulted in increased river levels that began to slow and eventually halt shipping on the river.
River traffic in the month of May totaled 499,662 tons, the lowest monthly level since June 2015 (390,084 tons).
Link here for a PDF of the July 2017 Transportation Report.
Editor’s note: The Arkansas Transportation Report is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by the Arkansas Trucking Association and the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce. Other transportation industry related stories can be found on the Arkansas Transportation Report landing page.