As a non-hub commercial service airport, Fort Smith Regional Airport serves the Fort Smith Metropolitan Service Area, including the military mission of Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. In the latest BRAC (2005), Fort Smith Regional Airport was realigned to support training and operation of eighteen A-10 “Warthog” aircraft. R.A. Wiedemann & Associates performed a business plan in support of the Airport Master Plan, including the development of a video and airport brochures. The recommended plan of action from the business plan included five primary strategic initiatives:
1) Retention of Airline Passenger Market Share: The future of Fort Smith Regional Airport is related directly to its success as an airline passenger airport. Marketing methods must be identified that help the Airport retain and expand their market share in the face of significant competition from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. Success in this area is tied to the City’s future identity and economic development branding.
2) Long-Term Pricing Policy: The possible moratorium on rental escalations would start the process of making Fort Smith Regional Airport price-competitive for the long term.
3) Attraction of Corporate and Other General Aviation: The attraction of corporate and other general aviation will help the economic health of the Airport while serving the air transportation needs of area companies and private citizens.
4) Direct Airport Access: Improved access to the Airport is a key factor in the retention and growth of airline passengers at Fort Smith Regional. Improvement of the entrance road intersection at Phoenix Avenue, new access to I-49 when that highway is constructed, and other improvements are needed to better accommodate the airline passenger traffic to the Airport.
5) Non-Aviation Property Development: A key future revenue stream for the Airport involves the conversion of non-aeronautical property along Phoenix Avenue to revenue-producing leaseholds. The reduction in revenues from the proposed pricing policy would be made up with new revenue streams from the leased property.