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Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA)


mcheiss

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I'm shocked that Ft. Smith is much lower than XNA in terms of fares, given they only have AA and DL...and AA offers ~70% of the seats available.  Pretty captive market, although they're decently closer to LIT than XNA is.

Edited by jb1087
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On 3/31/2018 at 1:47 AM, zman9810 said:

XNA is business/ account driven fares. Tulsa is usually  cheaper even if you get a room for a night.

This is always the argument yet as the population grows the need for more leasure travel grows. I'm sitting back and finally watching Memphis grow to just get close to peer cities in terms O&D traffic as it was suppressed for so long.

The effective catchment area of Memphis International is about the same as Columbus Ohio in terms of population yet Memphis has an international tourism travel component that it has over over peer cities. 

 

Xna needs not to defer leasure travel to other nearby cities when it's swinging the big economic stick that it is.

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Not necessarily XNA specific ... has anyone experienced Surf Air flying in/out of Bentonville Municipal?   

The article on 'Talk Business' points out they offer two round trip flights per day to Dallas and Atlanta and the airline currently serves 22 airports in 18 cities.  Its expensive but all about providing a premium experience while saving time.  I wonder if this is the future of executive level business travel ... 

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Parking at Fort Smith is cheaper, too.  If you live in Fayetteville, its only 1 hr, vs 30 minute drive, Fort Smith vs XNA.  If you're hopping thru Dallas on American, sometimes you can save a couple hundred bucks by driving that extra 30 minutes each way.  Security and check in at Fort Smith are a breeze, too.

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KNWA is reporting three major enhancements in the planning stages for XNA ...

•sky bridge that will connect the parking deck which is currently under construction directly to the TSA checkpoint on the second floor of the airport (artist renderings presented by RS&H) 

•terminal renovation to accommodate more airplanes with hope to lower prices (sounds like plans towards landing a low cost carrier)

•dedicated access road from the new 412 bypass with an emphasis on 4-lanes to attract future freight operations

 

skybridge1.jpg

skybridge2.jpg

skybridge3.jpg

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10 hours ago, OzarkSingleSpeed said:

•terminal renovation to accommodate more airplanes with hope to lower prices (sounds like plans towards landing a low cost carrier)

I know that's been thrown around on this thread multiple times.  I just wonder how much space is being wasted by current carriers, mainly AA, which has a ton of flights.  They have a regularly scheduled flight (and have for a long while) at 8:00am for DFW and then at 8:30am for DFW.  It's one thing to argue that frequency is what business travelers prefer...but that seems a bit much.

DL is moving CVG off of "rush-hour" (~5:00pm departure) next month without adding any flight, so that may help a bit in the early evening.

Edited by jb1087
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5 hours ago, TRB said:

Typical most carriers like their own gate for branding and all that. Common use gates aren't all that common these days

Isn't Gate 1 brand-free?  Used to be AA but I believe they moved out.  Same for Gate 10.

True 1 and 10 wouldn't work for the same airline, but I still can't imagine a new airline coming to XNA that needs more than one dedicated gate, maybe with the exception of WN.  Frontier, Spirit, and Alaska should all be able to make it with one.

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The smallest plane Southwest flies now is around 143 seats.

Frontier's parent company has placed a huge order for A320s that will start rolling in at the start of the new decade. Expect fast growth from them. Their current fleet is rather young. But let's look at it

A Frontier A319 has 156 in the smallest version and  their A320s have 180 seats. The A321 are 240+.

https://www.flyfrontier.com/about-us/aircraft-configuration?mobile=true

Allegiant is killing off their MadDogs by the end of the year and that's their smallest plane. The A319 are 156 and their A320s are 177 seaters. 

Spirits A319s are 140+ and their bigger A320s seat more than Frontier's.

 

So if you add another LCC and their are both at the gate at the same time, space constraints could play into the need for expansion as the Legacy mainlines like AA's , Delta's and United's B717, B737, A319s arw much less dense than the LCC ones.

So, let's hop into Dr. Peabody's way make machine to when XNA was built and all it saw was turbo props and RJs, anywhere from 36 seat to 76 at the most with an occasional mainline at the lower Legacy capacities.  Room for more people may require the need for additional and larger gates, the gate area present is just too small. It's not a number issue but room issue.

 

Edited by TRB
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Maybe XNA needs new leadership?

Here you have an AA big wig telling the XNA board to offer incentives for LCC service. If they haven't, it's gross mismanagement. We have Frontier in Tulsa, Little Rock and Branson yet no XNA , an economic hotspot with a major university nearby without. Something is amiss. It also explains some of the gate issues. Wonder how they address this if B gets redone.

 

https://talkbusiness.net/2018/04/stalemate-over-fees-ensues-between-xna-airlines-parking-deck-construction-on-schedule/ 

 

Pissing off a half million to the XNA board seems like no big deal, a study here, legal issues for years there.

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On 4/11/2018 at 4:38 PM, jb1087 said:

Isn't Gate 1 brand-free?  Used to be AA but I believe they moved out.  Same for Gate 10.

A few years ago (maybe 3 years) when I met with airport officials to look at advertising spaces in the airport, I was told gate A-2 was being held for a low cost carrier.  At that time they sounded fairly certain that would happen soon but shortly afterwards I noticed American Airlines started boarding their west coast flights from that gate.

Seems like gate A-2 could work well for a LCC with  larger aircraft (more seats / passengers) as its kinda in the corner with a little more waiting / standing room than other gates in concourse A.

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On 4/12/2018 at 1:27 PM, TRB said:

Here you have an AA big wig telling the XNA board to offer incentives for LCC service. If they haven't, it's gross mismanagement. We have Frontier in Tulsa, Little Rock and Branson yet no XNA , an economic hotspot with a major university nearby without. Something is amiss. It also explains some of the gate issues. Wonder how they address this if B gets redone.

So basically the American Airlines representative is telling the XNA board ... 'quit complaining about our ticket prices (which passengers are paying and filling our planes at a level we do not see an adjustment necessary) and go secure your airport a low cost carrier for the leisure travelers that want cheaper airfares out of XNA' ... wow.

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Yep, and an XNA swears they are doing that. They need better people if they are offering full incentive packages to Frontier and haven't yet landed them yet. 

Silver Air, out of Florida, went and got them them some new ATR 42's and 72's and are starting up BKG to IAH, MSY and ORD.  Just sayin'. Someone isn't trying hard enough or just not cut out for it.

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23 hours ago, OzarkSingleSpeed said:

Seems like gate A-2 could work well for a LCC with  larger aircraft (more seats / passengers) as its kinda in the corner with a little more waiting / standing room than other gates in concourse A.

True enough.  I'd think either 1 or 2 would work well given there is a lot open space in the middle of the "corner".  

I haven't been to the airport in a few months and don't remember every gate "owner", but according to XNA's latest terminal map, both 1 and 3 are without a normally scheduled airline.  I'd think AA could consolidate in either 3, 4 and 7 or 1, 2, and 3 and then either 1 and 2 or 4 and 7 would be empty to create a more open seating environment, if two gates really are necessary....otherwise I'd think 1 or 2 could be used independently.

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I will say this, Allegaint, Frontier and Spirit have many planes on the way.

Allegaint, didn't grow much due to the fact they were phashing out their Maggs way before the CBS hit piece that had major issues in accuracy to those that followed the Allegiant Pilot labor strife during that time period. They are set to add 13 Airbuses to the fleet next year.

 

Frontier's parent company has orders for 100s of Airbuses that start rolling in 2021. Expect all kinds of in city pairs to be tried out by them. Spirit has more A320s on the way too and their CEO that used to run AirTran had hinted at and continues to hint at adding smaller planes for smaller markets like AirTran did.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-17/spirit-airlines-mulls-adding-smaller-jets-to-all-airbus-fleet

He has been waiting this out due to the uncertain future of the C-Series. Boring lost their trade case and Airbus snatched up half ownership in a cleansheet plane for a $1 as Bombardier was desperate and then losing against Boeing's trade case.

Embraer's E2 planes are just now entering service and promise much improved efficiency over the current e-jets 

 

Both those planes now have the capacity to go to near 150 seats with equal to better operating costs to smaller A320s and 737s.

 

Boeing is now near frantic to hammer out an alliance with Embraer to add their E2s to the Boeing lineup

 

The Spirit CEO has just waited it out for it to become an Airbus vs Boeing bidding war knowing the planes now have major backing.

 

If these three airlines start adding more point to point flights from mid and small sized airports, Southwest gains to lose in this senario the most as they are more dependant on leasure passengers than the Big 3. The TUL/XNA setup would be a perfect example of this. WN has no interest in XNA because they get a good bit of bleed to TUL (even LIT and MCI)to sustain their operation their plus their planes have gotten bigger and bigger with the smallest being just a hair under 150 seats making them just too big XNA.  But here comes, let's say Frontier and they add Denver from XNA at 3x to 5X times a week. That attacks Southwest's Tulsa to Denver operation. I think Southwest is going to have to consider adding a smaller plane back to their fleet and enter smaller markets to defend their share. I think they'll have to go back to their roots and put these smaller markets in Milk run type routes like DAL-XNA-STL, that would added nonstop service to two major cities and one stop connection to dozens more. I suspect we may see Frontier do this type of routing. Back in the old days, they did  KC to Drake Field - Ft Smith -Dallas daily milk run on a 737-100 that had 100 seats.

I suspect we may see a Frontier-Spirit tie up as they fllets are both all airbus and if they added smaller planes, likey Airbus owned C Series.

 

A wildcard in this is McKinney Texas. They very much want to grew commercial service there, I believe that major state highway that runs just north of the airport is due for expansion and the rest of the Wright Admendment restrictions sunset soon. With North Dallas booming this is an idea spot for a third major Metroplex airport, even more so than Alliance and prefect solo to LCCS to set up a connecting operation 

https://communityimpact.com/guides/dallas-fort-worth/news/city-county/2018/02/12/airport-land-acquisition-2-things-know-mckinney-week-feb-12-15/

 

I could see flights like San Antonio-McKinney-XNA-St Loius -Indy

That would give XNA non stops to the Metroplex and St. Louis and no plane change service to San Antonio and Indy. 

 

It is being said the Embraer E2 -175 is as effiicent as a Q 400 turbo prop.

Edited by TRB
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3 hours ago, TRB said:

I could see flights like San Antonio-McKinney-XNA-St Loius -Indy

That would give XNA non stops to the Metroplex and St. Louis and no plane change service to San Antonio and Indy. 

Interesting on McKinney evolving into a major airport for the north Dallas metroplex.

XNA-STL-IND would be welcomed by me  as I do some business in Indiana.  Has XNA ever had service to St. Louis?  Last I remember direct service from Northwest Arkansas to Lambert International was aboard TWA from Drake Field.

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I know WN used to survive on the one-stops when the full Wright Amendment was in effect, but I don't know how viable they'd be for XNA these days.  DAL-XNA-STL would work for a specific aircraft's routing, but I don't see selling that as DAL-STL with a stop as an option that many would bite at, unless it was significantly cheaper than a DAL-STL nonstop.  

From a leisure and business traveller perspective combined, I do still think WN has the best opportunity when compared to Spirit, Frontier, or further flights from Allegiant, due to their bigger connection opportunities.  I don't know that a couple of one-off Spirit or Frontier flights (offering few or no connections) would really dent the existing fares at XNA except maybe to those specific cities.

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16 hours ago, jb1087 said:

I know WN used to survive on the one-stops when the full Wright Amendment was in effect, but I don't know how viable they'd be for XNA these days.  DAL-XNA-STL would work for a specific aircraft's routing, but I don't see selling that as DAL-STL with a stop as an option that many would bite at, unless it was significantly cheaper than a DAL-STL nonstop.  

From a leisure and business traveller perspective combined, I do still think WN has the best opportunity when compared to Spirit, Frontier, or further flights from Allegiant, due to their bigger connection opportunities.  I don't know that a couple of one-off Spirit or Frontier flights (offering few or no connections) would really dent the existing fares at XNA except maybe to those specific cities.

Oh, They Still Do it. Let's take their new Mem to Den flight cranking up in Oct. WN reduced MEM/DAL to one flight becasue they need it to fight an Alaskan move at DAL. The flight cut was the most used one, why? It was a no plane change on to LAX. A defacto nonstop. The connection times from MEM to LAX went to crap and their share of that market went to crap. AA fired up a second MEM/PHX flight. Care to guess what on the other end of that MEM/ DEN flight MON thru FRI? LAX for a no plane change. There's plenty of routing senario where WN puts a market with a decent PDEW in a position to be a no plane change. There were running one of the BWI to BOS , giving MEM a no plane change there.

That route has a pdew of around 100 a day and no one flys it direct. HELLO JET BLUE? Their 100 seat 190s scream it. They are so afraid Delta would add BOS back to MEM if they did. Lots of MEM.

These  new smaller planes offer the same and even better CASM than the 320s and 737s on some of these potential routes.

The country is about ready for a new version of Southwest. I keep thinking how if Alaska and Jet Blue hooked up how they could connect the coasts this way with these super effiecient smaller planes with plenty of transcontinental range.

 

Frontier and it's Denver Sevice from there significantly impacted fares westward in Memphis. Memphis has had 13 or some number like that quarters of decreasing fares when the fares overall have increased.

I'll tell you something Frontier is doing that Southwest isn't. Flying to Jackson Hole from Denver. Those fares are nearly a half K with the legacies. 

 

There's more than a handful you take a city like Memphis and string together a couple of destinations with PDEW of 35 to 60 and link them.

 

Here's one MEM-TYS(Knoxville)-RDU in the morning and MEM-RDU-TYS-MEM in the evening. This covers a decent Business connections neither RDU and connects UT Dentist and MED to UT Knoxville plus Pigeon Forge/Smokies.

How about XNA-BNA-RDU

You look at Southwest's focus citoes and then go down a rung and you make then focus citis like southwest. Lots of them used to be hubs, MEM,CLE,PIT and some have just grown since those days like XNA.

 

I love playing with GCM

 

 

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

It appears that Delta is cutting XNA/CVG come October. I'm sure the P&G folk are thrilled with the prospect changing in MSP, DET or ATL. That flight got a lot longer.

 

If Amazon can start their own frieght airline maybe Walmart should consider a discount passenger airline,  just kidding.........kinda.  Could be some same day delivery and frieght opportunities there.

Edited by TRB
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2 minutes ago, TRB said:

It appears that Delta is cutting XNA/CVG come October. I'm sure the P&G folk are thruled with the prospect changing in MSP, DET or ATL. That flight got a lot longer.

They down-gauged it to a CRJ last month, which was not a good sign.  I believe next month the schedule changes to arrive from CVG around noon and leave about half an hour later.

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On 5/6/2018 at 1:26 PM, burnz34 said:

I would love to see Delta have a bigger presence at XNA, like flights to SLC. Even flights SEA would be cool, now that Delta has been expanding their base at SEA.

Likewise!  I think SLC is a bit of a stretch until their remodel gets done but would love to see DL add it to cut down on times for connections to the west coast.

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