January-April traffic at the Fort Smith airport up 7.6%

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 249 views 

The traffic trend continues to be positive at the Fort Smith Regional Airport in early 2024 after a disappointing 2023. Airport enplanements through April total 18,745, up 7.6% compared with the same period in 2023.

April enplanements totaled 4,928, up 2.2% compared with 4,824 in April 2023, according to data from the airport.

The airport had 60,669 enplanements in 2023, down 1.7% compared with 2022. The decline followed two years of gains after 2020 in which the COVID-19 pandemic saw annual traffic fall to 38,660 enplanements.

The Clinton National Airport in Little Rock had 239,436 enplanements through March, the latest data available, up 4.5% compared with the same period in 2023. The Northwest Arkansas National Airport had 227,667 enplanements through March, up 10.1% compared with the same period in 2023.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. enplanements in the March 2023-February 2024– the latest data available – totaled 954.385 million, up 8.1% compared with 883.066 million in the March 2022-February 2023 period.

American Airlines, the only carrier active at Fort Smith, had four to five flights a day in 2021 but has reduced its schedule to three flights a day. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines stopped its direct service to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in July 2020.

The airport received a $1.145 million grant in August 2022 from the Small Community Air Service Development Program of the Federal Aviation Administration to recruit a route to Chicago or another northeastern market. The grant is good for 10 years. The airport has contracted with Middleton, Wisc.-based Mead & Hunt to add flights and new markets.

Fort Smith enplanements were on a growth trend prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The last time enplanements topped 100,000 was in 2005 with 102,607. The enplanement record is 112,782 set in 1975. Following are the previous 10 years of enplanement totals.
2023: 60,669
2022: 61,719
2021: 47,287
2020: 38,660
2019: 95,670
2018: 90,501
2017: 89,582
2016: 87,488
2015: 86,704
2014: 92,869