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XNA to expand terminal. (Transportation).

THE NORTHWEST ARKANSAS REGIONAL Airport board voted last month to solicit proposals from four architectural firms to expand the lobby and ticker counters in the airport's Alice Walton Terminal. The work is expected to cost $4 million-$5 million.

Expanding the terminal wilt allow airport officials to move three passenger bag-screening machines from the lobby to a new area behind the ticket counters. The machines were acquired last fall as the federal government beefed up airport security, nationwide following the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Scott Van Laningham, executive director of XNA, said he hopes a federal grant will pay for 90 percent of the construction project. He said the grant money might be available by September.

In the meantime, the board is soliciting proposals from the following architectural firms: Gensler of Denver, The LPA Group Inc. of Columbia, S.C., Gresham Smith & Partners of Dallas; and Amirmoez/Foster/Hailey/Johnson of Fayetteville.

The terminal will be expanded to the east, but Van Laningham said he won't know how much larger the building will be until he sees the proposals from architects.

Enplanements Up

Van Laningham said enplanements were up by about 10 percent for the first quarter of 2003. January enplanements were up 17.9 percent, February was flat, and March was up 14.3 percent, when compared with the same months of 2002. For the entire calendar year 2002, enplanemenrs at XNA were up 6.9 percent.

About 1,000 people board airplanes for flights from XNA daily.

"Nationally, we know enplanements are down about 10 percent," Van Laningham said. "So we're very pleased."

Van Laningham said XNA is also doing better than other airports in the region.

He credits the increase, at least in part, to the addition of four flights that were added since the first quarter of 2002, bringing the total number of flights daily to 43. In the past year, Continental Airlines added three round-trip flights to Houston, and Northwest Airlines reinstated a flight to Memphis that it had discontinued.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the number of daily round-trip flights from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill dropped from 46 to 38 as airlines cut service.

In addition to Continental and Northwest, the airport is also served by American, American Eagle ASA/The Delta Connection and U.S. Airways.

XNA currently has flights to Dallas, Chicago New York City, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta Memphis, Newark, NJ., and Charlotte, N.C.

Comair, a Delta Connection partner, announced on May 6 that it will begin serving XNA on July 1 with two daily roundtrip flights to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and one daily roundtrip. flight to Atlanta.

Airport Road

A $45 million, eight mile access road that will connect the airport directly to Interstate 540 is stilt in the planning Phase.

Van Laningham said the airport board is waiting for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to determine where a U.S. Highway 412 bypass, will be located before making plans for the airport road.

The completion date for the access road had already been pushed back from 2005 to 2006, and Van Laningham said it may be 2007 before it's completed.
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Title Annotation:Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport
Comment:XNA to expand terminal. (Transportation).(Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport)
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:May 26, 2003
Words:529
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