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XNA considers air quality improvements to increase enplanements, reduce sick time

Airport board members recommended approval for an additional $860,000 to install safety and air quality equipment throughout the terminal.

HIGHFILL, Ark. — Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill is studying improved air cleaning and filtration systems to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the terminal in an effort that might lead to increased enplanements and reduced employee sick time.

Between January and October, enplanements, or passengers flying out, have decreased by 60.4% to 304,394, from 768,650 over the same period in 2019. In October, enplanements declined by 63.7% to 31,367, from 86,554.

CEO Aaron Burkes said he projected enplanements fell by 64% in November.

This would be flat from the October decline. Enplanement numbers are typically released about two weeks after the end of each month.

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