Traffic gains out of the Fort Smith Regional Airport continue to grow, with the tally up 4.6% for the first eight months of the year compared to a 4% gain through the first six months.
Airport enplanements between January and August totaled 61,713, up 4.6% compared with the 59,010 in the same period of 2018. August enplanements totaled 7,899, up 3.6% compared with August 2018.
Enplanements at the airport in 2018 were up for the third straight year. They totaled 90,501 in 2018, up 1% from 89,582 in 2017 and 87,488 in 2016. Following are enplanement totals since 2010.
Fort Smith is the smallest, in terms of traffic, of Arkansas’ three largest commercial fields. The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) posted 2018 enplanements of 788,261, and the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock posted 1.069 million enplanements in 2018.
American Airlines is the most active in Fort Smith and is responsible for the traffic gains. Enplanements through American Airlines totaled 43,943 during the first eight months of 2019, up 7.7% compared with the same period in 2018. Delta Airlines, which travels only to Atlanta out of Fort Smith, had Fort Smith enplanements of 17,770 in the first eight months, down 2.5% compared with the same period in 2018. American Airlines had 62,738 enplanements in 2018, and Delta ended the year with 27,763 enplanements.
U.S. enplanements totaled 81.336 million through the first five months of 2019, up 5.2% compared with the same period in 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The May data is the most recent available. U.S. enplanements in all of 2018 totaled 1.011 billion, up 4.9% compared to 2017 and the first year domestic enplanements topped the 1 billion mark.
Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade group for most U.S. airlines, predicted a record 17.5 million passengers to travel on U.S. airlines worldwide during the week-long Labor Day travel period. If the prediction held, it would be a 4% increase over the 2018 Labor Day cycle. Federal and private traffic sources have yet to report enplanement numbers for the holiday.
“With fares at historic lows and customer satisfaction at historic highs, travelers continue to take to the skies in record numbers,” A4A Vice President and Chief Economist John Heimlich said in a press release prior to Labor Day.