The sun sets over the BWI Marshall terminal.
Holiday crowds gather at the BWI Marshall Airport.
By Mary Duggan
(Dec. 19, 2017–BALTIMORE, Md.)– This December, BWI Marshall Airport—the nation’s 22nd busiest airport—is buzzing with travelers humming “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays.”
But passengers flying home to visit friends and family afar are not the only ones who benefit from holiday-related flights. According to Executive Director Ricky Smith, increased travel during the holidays contributes to BWI Marshall’s overall economic impact in Maryland.
“BWI Marshall is a major transportation resource and economic engine for the state of Maryland,” Smith shared. “The airport generates and supports 98,000 jobs in the region, $7 billion in business revenue, and $3.8 billion in personal income.”
As the airport continues to grow and set records, so will its impact. BWI Marshall reported a record breaking number of departing passengers this past Thanksgiving. For the first time, over 40,000 travelers flew during this historically busy weekend.
“The holiday season is like the Super Bowl for airports,” Smith said. “It’s something that we focus on throughout the years with our many partners to help ensure pleasant, efficient travel for our passengers.”
Smith pointed out that, historically, traffic along the terminal roadway can be an issue during peak holiday periods. To better prepare for the expected influx of travelers this year, BWI Marshall worked closely with its many stakeholders to make necessary adjustments.
“We are offering the first hour of parking in the BWI hourly garage for free, to encourage local motorists to park when dropping-off or picking-up passengers,” Smith explained. “We have shifted passenger pick-ups for hotels, off-airport parking lots, and app-based ride sharing services to the upper level roadway to help relieve traffic on the busy lower level.”
Beyond record passenger travel, cargo operations are growing at BWI Marshall and shipments increase drastically during the holiday season to serve customer demand.
“In response to the increase in air cargo activity, we recently completed a number of major improvements to an important cargo facility here at the airport,” Smith said. “This work will ensure sufficient capacity as cargo operations continue to grow.”
Growth is thematic for BWI Marshall. During its next phase, coming this summer, international flyers will benefit from newly built accommodations.
“We are working to expand the BWI Marshall international terminal,” Smith reported. “The construction will add six new international airlines gates, including two full-service gates and four arrival-only gates. The work will support BWI Marshall as the airport adds new airlines and service to new global markets.”