By Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley
Change is underway at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and it is change for the better. Air Tran Airways has moved to the Southwest Airlines terminal as part of the merger of the two carriers. These two airlines combined represent 70 percent of the daily flights at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. With the move of Air Tran and the continued record growth of passenger traffic at BWI Marshall, we must invest in terminal improvements if we are to continue to be the most convenient airport in the region.
Recently, the Board of Public Works approved a $100 million terminal expansion that, when completed in 2013, will provide passengers with a more efficient and comfortable passenger experience. Another key benefit is that this investment in our infrastructure will support up to 850 construction-related jobs.
Plans call for the construction of a larger, more efficient security checkpoint that will serve Concourses A, B and C, as well as a connecting walkway beyond security linking those same three concourses. This secure walkway will allow passengers who have already passed through security to move freely between the three concourses, without having to go through security again. We also will be widening portions of Concourse C to provide additional space for passengers and gate areas.
The terminal expansion will be paid for through the revenue generated by the airport itself. This includes the landing fees and gate and office leases charged by BWI Marshall to the airlines.
BWI recently posted the best first half and 12-month period it its history and they set a passenger record in 2010. When you have a great airport like BWI Marshall, you can’t rest on your laurels. You must continue to invest in facilities, adapt to meet customer needs and stay ahead of the competition. As Maryland’s gateway to the world, BWI Marshall is critical to the success of our State’s economy. The airport, its airlines and businesses employ nearly 12,000 people. That means good, family-supporting jobs for citizens and revenue for state and local governments. Having a convenient, easy to use airport with excellent connections helps attract and maintain businesses in the state that support jobs from Oakland to Ocean City.
Now is the time to make this investment in BWI Marshall. We must address our current needs, position ourselves for future growth and create more jobs in the process. That is what we intend to do. The future is now at BWI Marshall.
Martin O'Malley is the Governor of Maryland. He writes a regular blog for his official website.