Baltimore–Washington International Airport
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (IATA: BWI, ICAO: KBWI, FAA LID: BWI) is the primary international airport serving Baltimore, Maryland, and one of three major airports serving the Baltimore–Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Located in an unincorporated area of Anne Arundel County, the airport is nine miles (14 km) south of downtown Baltimore and 30 miles (48 km) northeast of Washington D.C. It is the busiest airport in Maryland, and the busiest airport in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area. It is commonly referred to as BWI or BWI Marshall. The airport is named after Thurgood Marshall, a Baltimore native who was the first African American to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. This airport also has a heavy population base from the Harrisburg and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
|Owner||Maryland Aviation Administration (MDOT MAA)|
|Location||Anne Arundel County, Maryland, U.S.|
|Focus city for|
|Elevation AMSL||146 ft / 45 m|
FAA airport diagram
BWI is a focus city for Southwest Airlines, and is the second-largest airport by number of departures for that airline after Chicago–Midway. With a 71% market share in 2014, BWI also serves as a fortress hub for Southwest, and a small regional hub for Southern Airways Express. A record 25.1 million passengers traveled through BWI in 2016, an increase of 5.45% over the previous year. BWI was ranked as the 23rd-busiest airport in North America and the 75th-busiest airport in the world in 2014 by the number of passengers. BWI covers 3,160 acres (1,279 ha) of land.
In 2010, BWI was ranked as the best airport of its size (15–25 mil. passengers) in the world by the Airports Council International based on its 2009 Airport Service Quality survey. The airport also was ranked second for North American airports in the "Best Food and Beverage Program" of the 2010 Richard A. Griesbach Excellence in Airport Concessions Contest, sponsored by the Airports Council International.
Police services are provided by the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
Planning for a new airport on 3,200 acres (1,300 ha) to serve the Baltimore/Washington area began just before the end of World War II. In 1944, the Baltimore Aviation Commission announced its decision that the best location to build a new airport would be on a 2,100-acre (850 ha) tract of land near Linthicum Heights. The cost of building the airport was estimated at $9 million. The site was chosen because it was a 15-minute drive from downtown Baltimore; close to the Pennsylvania Railroad line, the Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad line, and the proposed Baltimore–Washington Parkway; and visibility was generally good. An alternate site along Gov. Ritchie Highway at Furnace Branch was rejected by the United States War Department, and another possible site at Lipin's Corner was deemed too far from Baltimore. The State Aviation Commission approved of the Linthicum Heights site in 1946.
Much of the land was purchased from Friendship Methodist Church in 1946, and ground was broken on May 2, 1947. Friendship Methodist Church held its last service on Easter Sunday in 1948. Friendship Methodist Church was razed to make room for the new airport. In addition, several pieces of land were bought, and 170 bodies buried in a cemetery were moved. Baltimore-Fort Meade Road was moved to the west to make way for the airport's construction.
Friendship International Airport was dedicated on June 24, 1950, by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. At the time, it had the only commercial jet service in the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.[verification needed] Truman arrived in the then official presidential plane Independence from nearby Washington National Airport carrying the Governor of Maryland, William Preston Lane Jr., and Baltimore mayor Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. on his first aircraft flight. The total cost to construct the airport totaled $15 million. The following month the airlines moved to the new airport from the old Baltimore Municipal Airport (also known as Harbor Field in southeast Baltimore at ). Eastern Airlines flew the first scheduled flight, a DC-3, into the airport at 12:01 am on July 23, 1950. Seven minutes later, the same plane was also the first flight to depart from the airport. 300 people came to watch the first flight arrive and depart.
The Official Airline Guide for April 1957 shows 52 weekday departures: 19 Eastern, 12 Capital, 8 American, 4 National, 3 TWA, 3 United, 2 Delta, and 1 Allegheny. Miami had a couple of nonstop flights, but westward nonstop flights did not reach beyond Ohio; Baltimore's reach expanded when jet service started. The early Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s could not use Washington National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport did not open until 1962, so Baltimore became Washington's jet airport in May–June 1959 when American and TWA began transcontinental 707 flights.
The Maryland Department of Transportation purchased Friendship International Airport from the City of Baltimore for $36 million in 1972. Under MDOT, the Maryland State Aviation Administration took over airfield operations and grew from three employees to more than 200. Plans to upgrade, improve, and modernize all Maryland airport facilities were announced almost immediately by the Secretary of Transportation, Harry Hughes.
In order to attract passengers from the Washington metropolitan area, particularly Montgomery and Prince George's counties, the airport was renamed Baltimore/Washington International Airport, effective November 16, 1973.
The first phase of the airport's modernization was completed in 1974 at a cost of $30 million. Upgrades included improved instrument landing capabilities and runway systems, and construction of three new air cargo terminals, expanding the airport's freight capacity to 2.53 acres (1.02 ha).
The terminal renovation program was complete in 1979, the most dramatic work of the airport's modernization, which was designed by DMJM along with Peterson & Brickbauer. The BWI terminal more than doubled in size to 14.58 acres (5.90 ha); the number of gate positions increased from 20 to 27. The total cost was $70 million. To continue the work, the BWI Development Council was established to support initiatives for airport development.
The BWI Rail Station opened in 1980, providing a connection for passengers on the Northeast Corridor through Amtrak. BWI was the first airport in the U.S. with a dedicated intercity rail station. In particular, the station provided rail transit access to Washington, D.C., something that Dulles will not have until 2020 at the earliest. In 1997 a new international terminal (Concourse E), designed by STV Group and William Nicholas Bodouva & Associates, was added, though Dulles continues to hold the lion's share of the region's international flights, and BWI has not attracted many long-haul international carriers. The first transatlantic nonstops were on World Airways about 1981; British Airways arrived at BWI a few years later. Aer Lingus, Air Jamaica, Air Aruba, Air Greenland, El Al, Ghana Airways, Icelandair, KLM, Air Canada Ladeco, and Mexicana previously flew to BWI. Military flights, operated by the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command, continue to have a significant presence at BWI.
In the first half of the 1990s runway 15L/33R was extended 1,800 feet (550 m) from 3,199 ft (975 m) to its current length of 5,000 ft (1,500 m), allowing it to be used by small passenger jets like the Boeing 737.
Beginning in the 1980s and for much of the 1990s BWI was a hub for Piedmont Airlines and successor US Airways, but that airline's financial problems in the wake of the dot-com bust, the September 11 attacks, and low fare competition forced it to cut back. The airport has been a haven for low-cost flights in the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan Area since Southwest Airlines' arrival in September 1993 and subsequent expansion in the early 2000s. Southwest is the airport's largest carrier, accounting for 56.12% of passengers carried in 2011. Southwest Airlines currently serves on average 245 daily departures to the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.
To accommodate Southwest's extensive presence at the airport, in 2005 Concourses A and B were expanded, renovated, and integrated with one another to house all of that airline's operations there. This new facility, designed by URS Corporation, opened on May 22, 2005. On October 1 of that year, the airport was renamed again, becoming Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, to honor former US Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, who grew up in Baltimore.
On August 5, 2014, little-used runway 04-22 was permanently closed. It was only 6,000 feet (1,829 meters) long and used primarily when the main runways needed to be closed for repairs. The last operation on the runway was a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago Midway that arrived at 4:18 AM.
In late 2008, Health magazine named BWI the second healthiest airport in the United States. In 2009 the airport had a six percent increase in air travelers due to the proliferation of discount flights. In a 2009 survey of airport service quality by Airports Council International, BWI was the world's top ranking airport in the 15-to-25-million-passenger category. BWI also ranked seventh, in medium-sized airports, based on customer satisfaction conducted by J.D Power and Associates.
In early 2016, a partnership between the airport and Towson University's WTMD Radio Station announced a new concert series that will take place at the terminal's baggage claim on the lower level. The local bands of Wye Oak, Arboretum, and Super City. This new series follows the release event of Animal Collective's new album Painting With on November 25, 2015, where the new album was streamed throughout the airport.
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has five concourses, though Concourses A and B were essentially merged into a single concourse in the renovations completed in 2005, and then Concourse D was merged with Concourse E in the renovations completed in 2017. The Maryland Aviation Administration has its headquarters on the third floor of the terminal building.
Concourses A and B have 25 gates: A1-A11 and B2-B15.
Southwest is the only tenant of concourses A and B.
Concourse D has 24 gates: D1-D5, D7-D8, D10-D16, D20-D26, D29, and D36-D37.
It serves Air Canada Express, Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, Contour Airlines, Delta, JetBlue, Southern Airways Express, Southwest (international arrivals that are not pre-cleared), Spirit, and United. The far end of Concourse D is built at ground level to serve small regional planes. Gates D1, D3, and D5 are international swing gates generally used by Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines for non-precleared international arrivals. These swing gates can serve both domestic and international passengers. Concourse D is connected to concourse E by a secure connector. Concourse D originally housed Piedmont Airline's hub at BWI.
Concourse E has 7 gates: E1-E6 and E8 (with 4 arrival-only gates).
Officially known as the Governor William Donald Schaefer International Terminal, it serves British Airways, Condor, and Southwest (international arrivals that are not pre-cleared). All international arrivals from non-pre-cleared destinations and all charter airlines are handled at Concourse E. The Air Mobility Command has a post in Concourse E flying active service troops out to military bases, usually at Ramstein, Germany and Incirlik, Turkey through Atlas Air Boeing 747-400's and Omni Air International Boeing 777-200ER's.
The airport's cargo concourse covers a 395,000 sq ft (36,700 m2) area. Its facilities include a 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) cargo building in the Midfield Cargo Complex, a foreign trade zone, a 17 acres (6.9 ha) air cargo ramp, and ramp parking for 17 aircraft with direct nose-in access for 8 freighters.
- British Airways contracts the Chesapeake Club Lounge in Concourse E, near entrance to the concourse, for use by its elite and Club World passengers.
- The USO operates a lounge on the lower level of the Terminal between the Concourses D and E baggage claim for United States military personnel and their families.
- Airspace Lounge opened in Concourse D (near Gate D10) on May 7, 2011, but closed on May 27, 2016. A new lounge will take its place in mid to late 2017 under "The Club" branding, and will be accessible to Priority Pass members.
On April 30, 2013, the airport opened a new concourse C security checkpoint, with nine security lanes, the most at the airport, the airport also widened concourse C, built a new concourse A/B-C connector and added additional concessions.
The Federal Aviation Administration is currently in the process of designing a new air traffic control tower that will replace the current tower. The new tower is estimated to cost between $21 million and $26 million and be 228 ft (69 m) tall. There is no estimated construction start date.
On July 12, 2013, BWI Airport and the Maryland Aviation Administration launched a 3-year, $125-million construction project. This project included modernizing concourse D, a new airside connection linking concourse D and E, a new TSA Security checkpoint, and the addition of 3 international swing gates to allow additional international flights. New restaurants, shops, and a new children's play facility were also added to Concourse E. The project began in late 2014, and was completed in fall 2016.
A $60.3 million expansion to Concourse E was announced in February 2017. The enhancements include 70,000 square feet of new terminal space and six additional international gates. The airport is aiming at getting new service to Asia and additional service to Europe in the near future.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
With winds from the north or the west, aircraft will generally land on runway 33L and depart on runway 28. When the winds are from the south or the east, arrivals are on runway 10 and departures are on runway 15R. Use of the smaller parallel runway (33R/15L) is restricted to smaller propeller-driven aircraft and small corporate jets. The largest planes that land at BWI regularly are Boeing 767s, McDonnell Douglas MD-11s, and Boeing 787s. Because of the many cargo and charter operations at BWI, it is common to see one or two Boeing 747s or Boeing 777s on a daily basis as well. Runway 10/28 was closed for a 60-day period that began on August 20, 2012 to update and implement safety requirements for Runway Safety Areas established by the Federal Aviation Administration.
For the 12-month period that ended on December 31, 2017, the airport had 261,702 aircraft operations, an average of 717 per day: 83% air carrier, 12% air taxi, 5% general aviation, and less than 1% military operations. In 2017, there were 47 aircraft based at the airport: 16 single engine, 5 multi-engine, 25 jets, and 1 helicopter.
As of January 2019, Southwest Airlines represents 67.56% of the airline market shares at BWI followed by Spirit at 9.50% and Delta at 7.33%.
Thanks to Southwest Airlines's success there, BWI is currently the busiest airport in the Baltimore–Washington area with 12,976,554 boardings in 2017. This is ahead of both Ronald Reagan National Airport at 11,506,310 enplanements and Dulles International Airport with 11,024,306 enplanements.
|1||Atlanta, Georgia||869,230||Delta, Southwest, Spirit|
|2||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||636,290||JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit|
|3||Orlando, Florida||595,050||JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit|
|4||Boston, Massachusetts||582,910||JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit|
|5||Charlotte, North Carolina||427,230||American, Southwest|
|6||Denver, Colorado||394,630||Southwest, Spirit, United|
|7||Detroit, Michigan||354,040||Delta, Southwest, Spirit|
|8||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||346,290||American, Spirit, United|
|9||Tampa, Florida||341,620||Southwest, Spirit|
|10||Las Vegas, Nevada||324,510||Southwest, Spirit|
|3||Delta Air Lines||1,840,000||7.33%|
|Passengers||Change from previous year||Aircraft operations||Cargo |
Shuttle services, taxis, and busesEdit
Passenger van service to and from the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland is available through BayRunner Shuttle with services to and from BWI to Kent Island, Easton, Cambridge, Salisbury, Ocean Pines, and Ocean City (for the Eastern Shore) and Grantsville, Frostburg, Cumberland, Hancock, Hagerstown, and Frederick (for Western Maryland). There are also numerous private car, rental car, and cab services, as well as shuttles that go to and from BWI to local hotels; Baltimore and Washington and their suburbs; and Central and Western Maryland.
Bus service between BWI and the Greenbelt station of the Washington Metro and MARC Camden Line is provided by WMATA's Metrobus on Route B30 every 70 minutes from 6am-10pm on weekdays. No weekend or holiday service is provided as it was discontinued on June 25, 2017. The regular fare is $7.50, and the disabled/senior citizens rate is $3.75; exact fare or the use of a WMATA SmarTrip card is required.
The Maryland Transit Administration's Bus Route 17 serves BWI 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During the hours when the Light Rail operates, buses operate to the Patapsco Light Rail Stop. When the Light Rail is not in service, buses operate to Downtown Baltimore.
The Maryland Transit Administration's Bus Route 99 serves BWI during peak periods every half-hour on weekdays from 6:15am–7:45am & 2pm-5pm NB and 6am-9am & 3:20pm–4:50pm SB. Route 99 connects with the MTA Light Rail Station at BWI Business District and Baltimore Metro at Old Court Station, also serving U.M.B.C, CCBC Catonsville, Catonsville, Security Sq Mall, Woodlawn, Milford Mill and Randallstown. Route 99 also has express portions of the route on I-95 from BWI to U.M.B.C. and I-695 from Edmonson Ave & Ingleside Ave (NB from CCBC Catonsville) to Security Sq Mall.
MTA Commuter Bus route 201 connects BWI with Arundel Mills, Burtonsville, Norbeck, Shady Grove station, and Gaithersburg. Buses operate once an hour (4am-6pm eastbound, 5am-11pm westbound), seven days a week. Fare is $5.00.
BWI Rail Station is located about a mile from the airport terminal; the free BWI Marshall Airport Shuttle connects the train station and airport terminals. The station is served by Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains, including the partially high-speed Acela Express, and the MARC Penn Line. Travel time by train is about twenty minutes to Baltimore's Penn Station and thirty-five minutes to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Trains depart at least once an hour seven days a week, with departure times during rush hours and business hours being significantly more frequent.
The Maryland Transit Administration's Light Rail line has a stop just outside the entrance to the airport's International Terminal. Passengers can take the Light Rail to a variety of destinations in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Baltimore County, and can transfer to the Metro Subway in Baltimore, or to either of MARC's Baltimore terminals. A ride downtown takes approximately 30 minutes. Trains run every 20 minutes during peak hours, and 30 minutes all other times.
In June 2007, the Maryland Department of Transportation, at the request of the Maryland General Assembly in 2006, commissioned a report on a proposal to extend the Washington Metro's Green Line, from its current terminus at Greenbelt, through Howard County to BWI. In 2011, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority began studying the needs of the Metro system through 2040. The WMATA subsequently published a study on the alternatives, none of which were funded for planning or construction. These alternatives included a six-stop extension of the Green Line northeast from Greenbelt to BWI.
In August 2014, BWI launched a new bicycle sharing system with the Boston-based company Zagster. Located adjacent to the BWI Airport Light Rail Station, the bike sharing service connects terminal passengers to the nearby BWI Trail, as well as other local destinations.
In 1985, the BWI Business District was established as a way to formalize businesses and hotels operating adjacent to the airport. The district comprises two smaller districts located to the north (West Nursery Hotel District) and west (Stoney Run District) of the airport. Numerous traveler resources and employment centers are located within both districts, such as the BWI Rail Station and BWI Rental Car Facility in the Stoney Run District, and the BWI Business District Light Rail Station, the NSA Friendship Annex, and dozens of hotel facilities in the West Nursery District.
A DHS facility is located in the lower level of the main terminal, near the international arrivals area / Concourse E Baggage Claim. This facility also includes a Global Entry Enrollment Center, as well as a TSA PreCheck enrollment facility.
In the early 1990s, BWI Airport opened the Thomas A. Dixon Aircraft Observation Area at Friendship Park. The observation plaza features a playground and a terrace overlooking the southern approach to the airport's 15R-33L runway. From this vantage point, several planes can be viewed simultaneously as they prepare for landing. The southern loop of the 13.3 mile BWI Trail travels through the park, providing cyclist and pedestrian access to the park.
Planespotting At BWIEdit
In addition to the Thomas A. Dixon Aircraft Observation Area, which provides spotters with views of aircraft landing on runway 33L, spotters can use one of several parking garages to view arrivals to runway 15R, with some arrivals appearing to be below the spotter.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.|
- Official website
- The BWI Business Partnership
- BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport topic articles and photos from The Baltimore Sun
- "Baltimore's Lonely Big Airport". Life. November 19, 1951. pp. 69–72 – via Google Books.
- (PDF), effective April 25, 2019
- Resources for this airport:
- AC-U-KWIK information for KBWI