Chief Executive Officer

The Board of Directors of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport is seeking candidates for the position of CEO of the airport.


About Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA)

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (IATA: XNA) is a public use airport in Northwest Arkansas. XNA opened for commercial passenger business on November 1, 1998. Based in Bentonville, AR, the airport supports major cities in the area, including Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Siloam Springs, and Springdale. Currently, XNA is served by American, Delta, United, and Allegiant airlines, with non-stop services to 15 destinations.


In 2017, XNA broke its record for the number of passengers boarding flights for the fourth year in a row. XNA saw 725,284 passengers depart from the airport. That was a 3.7% increase over 2016. The consistent growth over nearly two decades has led to regular expansions of the airport's terminal, its runway and taxiways and its parking areas. Among the most significant projects occurring is the four-story parking deck that will be complete in 2018.


The airport’s staff strives to keep pace with the growing demands of NW Arkansas’ thriving economy and passenger traffic. XNA does this by supporting initiatives that seek to provide increased passenger destinations and expanded customer service.


The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority (the “Authority”) is an independent governmental entity that owns and operates the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. The Authority was a created pursuant to state law by the Cities of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Siloam Springs, and Springdale, and the Counties of Benton and Washington, all of which are located in Arkansas. Each city and county of the Authority selects individually one or more members of the Board of Directors. The Authority’s Board is the governing body of the organization. 


The CEO Role

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Authority is recruiting a new CEO for XNA. Reporting to the Board, the CEO is responsible for the total operations of the airport.  A key focus will be ensuring that all relevant stakeholders continue to operate in a way to meet financial targets, while safety and operational efficiency is maximized in a safe and responsible manner. She/He will drive a continuous focus on an enhanced customer experience while positioning and guiding the organization towards long-term success. The CEO will have active involvement in airport operations as well as the ability to establish and maintain working relationships with the Board of Directors, governmental officials, and community groups interested in or affected by airport operations.


Specific responsibilities include:

  • Further promote growth and expansions for the airport to support the economic growth of the region.
  • Supervise staff in preparing and monitoring operating budgets and ensuring compliance of facilities, infrastructure and maintenance operations with local, state, federal law and regulations.
  • Ensure the airport is appropriately staffed and that those employees are effectively managed and developed.
  • Develop and execute business plans to meet financial goals and objectives; provide administration leadership of all management and financial reporting.
  • Develop and implement a key growth strategy to expand utilization of the airport; work with key stakeholders to ensure and attract other airlines to increase enplanements and provide broader services to the public.
  • Ensure capital programs are budgeted and be a champion for capital projects that support the priorities of the airport.
  • Ensure that XNA maintains an outstanding safety program.
  • Continuously build relationships with the local community, businesses and key stakeholders, including regulatory and/or government agencies at all levels; also able to address all issues concerning media and government relations.
  • Work with the Board and keep the Board well informed around operations and also matters that can support economic and community development.


Qualifications and Experience

Industry experience, ideally within the aviation and/or transportation, is desired. External candidate from outside the industry may be qualified if the complexity of what they have managed mirrors that of the XNA airport or s/he has been involved in managing an organization which directly impacts the economic development of a region. Candidates must also excel in the skills and attributes as outlined below.


The new CEO must be a strong leader that’s able to work in a continually evolving and growing environment. She/He must have graduated from an accredited college or university with a degree in engineering, transportation, business, planning or a closely related field. A master’s degree and extensive experience in planning, design of airport facilities and airport facility maintenance is desirable. Significant relevant experience is acceptable as a replacement for college requirement.


Background and experiences:

  • Strong Management Skills: Ability to manage a business / P&L; set operational and financial metrics to measure success/performance.
  • Industry Experience: Desired experience in airports or adjacent areas (i.e. Port Authority, Chamber of Commerce and/or others).
  • Operational and Commercial Excellence: Focus on continuous improvement and bring a robust commercial acumen into the organization.
  • Scale: Have experience in managing similar scale and complex business and able to work in a growth environment.
  • Regional Experience: Experience managing an organization that has an impact on a broader economic area; NWA regional experience desired but not mandatory.

In addition, successful candidates will also have a strong, proactive leadership style with an ability to lead others through complex situations. He/She will be able to motivate a team and delegate effectively. Have a proven ability to set and articulate an inspiring strategy and vision for XNA. Strong communication skills are critical in addition to having the ability to build strong relationships and demonstrate strong emotional intelligence. Finally, an entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the organization and a leader who is tenacious and accountable in driving results for XNA.




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