XNA enplanements hit record in March

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,037 views 

Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill recently reported its best March for enplanements since opening in 1998.

Enplanements, or passengers flying out, rose by 26.8% to 80,742 in March from the same month last year. Compared to March 2019, enplanements were up 14.6% from 70,463, the second-best March for enplanements. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, XNA officials have used 2019 enplanement numbers as a comparison benchmark. In 2019, enplanements at the state’s second-largest commercial airport rose to a record of 922,533.

In the first quarter of 2023, enplanements increased by 28.1% to 206,754 from 161,385 in the same period last year. Compared to the first quarter of 2019, enplanements are up by 11.5%.

XNA general counsel Brian Burke attributed the strong March numbers to the following:

  • Business travel remains strong
  • Economic stability and moderating inflation
  • Leisure travel growth continues
  • Spring break
  • The Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball team played in Las Vegas after reaching the Sweet 16 in the NCAA basketball tournament.

“All of these things surely contributed one way or another to a great month,” Burke said. “We’re truly blessed to have a busy, growing airport.”

In March, enplanements at Clinton National Airport in Little Rock increased by 11% to 85,537. Between January and March, enplanements at the largest commercial airport in Arkansas rose by 17.7% to 229,168 from the same period last year. Over the period, enplanements at Fort Smith Regional Airport rose by 3.3% to 12,593. In March, enplanements at the state’s third-largest commercial airport declined by 21.1% to 4,434 from 5,621 in the same month last year.