After 72 years of operation, city leaders and the aviation community have a new vision for Bentonville’s municipal airport, Louise M. Thaden Field, to become a destination airport for aviators and an added amenity for locals and tourists.


About six years ago, as city stakeholders began discussions about its future, they determined Bentonville’s airport should not try to compete with Rogers and Springdale, said Chad Cox, aviation director of Runway NWA, a Walton-backed civic group in Bentonville focused on community enrichment. Instead, he said, it should be “in its own class — a place that can still offer good service to jets and vendors coming in but is also a ‘home away from home’ type of airport.”


The city’s master plan for the municipal airport, updated in 2016, states that the airport is to “create an environment that generates interest in aviation” and attracts “a broader scope of people beyond just pilots and tenants … and engage them not only in typical aviation-related activities … but rather a unique, interactive airport environment.”


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