XNA Expands Terminal, Runway Facilities

July 1, 2010


Work is under way on a terminal expansion at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.

It's one of two big projects going on right now. The other is a backup runway.

Officials said they want to attract more airlines to XNA, but they can only do that if they have larger facilities to offer them.

That's where the construction comes in.

Businessman Mark Irwin does his fair share of traveling around the world, and he said the facilities at XNA sometimes seem a little small compared to those at airports in bigger cities.

"When you're sitting up in Chicago or down in Dallas … or somewhere else and you hear passengers talking about going into Northwest Arkansas airport, they're a number of little jokes here and there,” Irwin said.

XNA may never be as large as airports in Dallas or Chicago, but the construction of a new concourse at XNA should considerably expand its current facilities.

XNA Executive Director Scott Van Laningham said, "We're going to pick up 11 or 12 new gates, so it's a net gain of about 7 or 8 gates,” Van Laningham said.

Van Laningham said the concourse should create room where potential new air carriers can park their planes, which is something the airport doesn't have in its current configuration.

"We have ticket counter space and we have bag handling capability where we could handle another airline or two, but we don’t have any available gate space,” Van Laningham said.

Van Laningham said air travel will be made even smoother with the addition of a new landing surface, which is also in the process of being constructed.

"The existing runway is fine, but if we needed to go in and replace an entire panel or something like that, we don't have any place to put airplanes, so we needed some sort of backup plan,” Van Laningham said.

Officials said the backup runway will cost about $30 million, and all construction should be complete in about a year and a half.

Airport officials said they hope the new concourse will include new restaurants and shops once construction is complete.

Two Expansion Projects Underway At XNA

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