Editor’s note: This story is a component of The Compass Report. The quarterly Compass Report is managed by The City Wire. Supporting sponsors of The Compass Report are Cox Communications and the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Arkansas commercial airport trends that began early in 2014 have continued through June, with traffic increases in Northwest Arkansas (XNA) and Fort Smith and enplanement declines in Little Rock.
Travelers flying out of XNA during June totaled 65,022, up 14.3% compared to the 56,889 during June 2013. For the first six months of 2014, enplanements at XNA total 308,961, up 8.34% compared to the same period in 2013. The January-June 2014 traffic is up 5.46% compared to the same period in 2007, the year XNA reached record enplanements of 598,886.
For all of 2013, XNA enplanements totaled 579,679, up 2.58% compared to the same period in 2012. The enplanement growth remained stable through the year, with enplanements up 2.42% at the end of the first quarter of 2013.
Enplanements at XNA totaled 565,045 during 2012, up just 0.4% compared to 2011. Although slight, the gain prevented XNA from posting two-consecutive years of enplanement declines. XNA’s first full year of traffic was 1999, and the airport posted eight consecutive years of enplanement gains before seeing a decline in 2008.
FORT SMITH TRAFFIC
The Fort Smith Regional Airport, served by flights from Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth, posted June enplanements of 8,393, up 6.56% compared to June 2013. Enplanements for the first six months of 2014 total 44,730, up 6.39% compared to the same period in 2013.
For all of 2013, enplanements at the airport totaled 84,520, down 2.46% compared to the same period in 2012. The decline ended three consecutive years of enplanement gains at the airport.
With 25,785 enplanements for the first six months of 2014, American Airlines accounts for 57.6% of commercial traffic out of Fort Smith. Delta Air Lines had the remaining market share for the first six months of 2014.
American enplanements out of Fort Smith are up 4.92% for the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013, and Delta enplanements are up 8.46%.
LITTLE ROCK NUMBERS
Enplanements at the Bill & Hillary Clinton Airport (Little Rock National Airport) were 99,066 in June, down 3.75% compared to June 2013. Enplanements for the first six months of 2014 were 514,958, down 6.19% compared to the same period of 2013.
Enplanements in 2013 totaled 1.085 million, down 5.45% compared to 2012. Enplanements in 2012 totaled 1.147 million, up 4.07% compared to 2011. The 2012 numbers ended five consecutive years of enplanement declines at Arkansas’ largest commercial field.
Among the top three carriers in Little Rock, only one has posted enplanement gains between January and June. Southwest, the largest carrier, has seen enplanements decline 16.13% in the first six months. American, the second largest, has posted at 1.46% gain in the period, while Delta has a 2.44% decline in enplanements during the first six months of 2014.