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BWI requests concourse expansion to accommodate Southwest Airlines growth

BWI requests concourse expansion
Posted at 8:18 AM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 18:38:07-04

BWI-Marshall Airport wants to expand part of the airport to make more room for its largest airline carrier.


The airport has $60 million plans to expand one of its concourses.


Among the thousands taking off and landing at the airport was Tim Kenny on his way to catch a flight to the Midwest.


“Obviously, if they’re going to make some plans like that. It’s good that there’s support going along with not just the added income from the people,” Kenny said.


News of expanding the airport, specifically a concourse designated to Southwest Airlines, only came as a positive for the Baltimore native.


“As long as it’s not going to delay travel, it’s probably a good thing. It’s more people coming through the city. Some of them may even stay overnight, spend money. It’s definitely a positive thing,” Kenny said.


The plan would expand BWI’s ‘Concourse A’, bringing five more gates, and more options to the more than 50,000 people who fly Southwest to and from BWI daily.


A show of economic strength, says Maryland Aviation Administration exec Ricky Smith.


“One it’s a sign that Southwest Airlines is committed to Maryland. It’s another sign that the state of Maryland’s economy is doing extremely well because the airport is growing,” Smith said.


As it stands, the concourse is too small for Southwest, and building out will help meet the demands of the company’s second largest operation.


But it’s not just about the planes, but the people too.


“It’s a precursor to a larger program which includes: adding additional restrooms, creating a new connector from concourse A to B, so passengers don’t have to walk through crowded food court for example, adding some additional concessions space,” Smith said.


In addition to that, an underground, expanded baggage handling system so bags can go from check-ins to planes a lot faster – putting BWI in a position for future opportunities.


“Everything we do at the airport is based on airport resources and airport revenues and we recoup that investment from our tenants, and in this case, an airline,” Smith said.


The plans still have to be approved by the Maryland Department of Public Works. The airport will make its case at a meeting on July 19th.

If plans are approved, BWI hopes to have the expansion finished by 2020.