Rain delays XNA construction projects; most remain on track

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,100 views 

A rendering shows the view from the proposed skybridge looking east into the terminal at Northwest Arkansas National Airport in Highfill. A $47.82 million project to add the skybridge and renovate the front of the terminal is one of several construction projects in the works at XNA.


The weather has delayed some projects at Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill, but most are still on track.

Airport officials recently provided XNA board members an update on the ongoing construction projects and those in the works.

Emery Sapp and Sons is handling the concrete work for the Taxiway B reconstruction and Concourse A apron expansion and gate addition projects. Aero Bridgeworks will complete the gate installation.

The $10.76 million project to reconstruct Taxiway B is expected to be completed in September. Work began in March.

Nicholas Fondano, director of construction for XNA, said the project was behind schedule by about two weeks as a result of the significant amount of rain in the past month. He also noted that a $2.15 million project to build a maintenance facility is behind schedule because of the rain.

Work on the $6.21 million Concourse A apron expansion and gate addition project is expected to be completed in January. The project started in August.

Fondano added that this project is expected to be completed on time.

Some of the other projects in the works include the construction of a $56.75 million western concourse, a $47.82 million terminal expansion including a skybridge and a $13.05 million control tower. Timelines for completion range from 2028 to 2024, respectively.

Board members also received an update on the XNA connector road that is expected to run from the airport’s southern entrance on Arkansas Highway 264 to a future segment of Arkansas Highway 612, or the U.S. Highway 412 bypass.

Board member Mike Johnson said land acquisition for the connector road might start this year with construction potentially starting in 2023. He added that the road would be built in conjunction with the extension of Highway 612 west of Arkansas Highway 112. The connector road might be completed in 2025 or 2026.

Between January and April, XNA enplanements, or passengers flying out, have risen by 91.8% to 228,786, from 119,260 in the same period in 2021. April enplanements rose by 63.4% to 67,401, from 41,261 in the same month in 2021. Compared to 2019, the enplanements were down 5.8% from 71,557 in the month that year.