Written by Arkansas Real Estate
We are grateful for her taking time to tell us about Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport's (XNA) plans, growth, and predictions.
XNA (Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport) continues to expand and grow - can you tell us about some of the recent and planned expansions?
In 2011 the airport completed two major projects-the addition of an 11 gate upper level concourse ($21.5 million dollars) and the construction of an alternate landing surface (38.5 million dollars).
What trends has XNA seen the most growth in this year? Increase of travelers, flights, specific flight destinations, etc?
The economy has a tremendous impact on our business. The uncertainty of the financial health of business' and our government creates a situation where people pull back from expenditures. For these reasons XNA has experienced a fairly flat year where passenger growth is concerned. This coupled with the fuel cost to the air carriers (which increase ticket prices) has limited our ability to convenience our airline partners to add new capacity and destinations at this time.
How many people fly in and out of XNA each year?
About 1.1 million people get on and off planes at XNA annually.
We have heard rumored plans of building more transportation routes to the airport. Do you know of anything in the works? How would that benefit NWA?
A roadway to the airport is one of our ongoing projects. The route is expected to receive environmental clearance early next year and we will work to develop a financial plan to make construction of the new roadway a reality. A direct route to XNA would benefit a customer's in ease getting to the airport and traffic mix. The existing roadways traffic mix includes farm equipment, school buses etc.
What are the greatest challenges XNA faces with infrastructure?
The greatest challenge we face is lace of an aviation bill from Congress. The majority of our large projects are directly tied to Federal Grants. The last aviation approved by Congress expired 4 years and three months ago. The FAA is now operating under the 22nd continuing resolution which expires January 31st. It is very difficult to construct multi-million dollar projects with 3 or 6 months funding at a time in a climate where you may or may not receive that funding.
As an aside, the Grants the airports' receive are funded by a 7.5% ticket tax each passenger pays when they purchase their ticket. I share this because we want to make sure the public understands that the Grants airports' receive are not funded from general revenues, they are funded by only those people who use the aviation system.