History of Maryland Aviation

Maryland’s aviation history is marked by pioneering achievements and significant contributions to flight innovation. Glenn L. Martin’s establishment of an aircraft company in Middle River during the early 20th century laid the foundation for aeronautical progress in the state. Maryland played a vital role in aircraft production during both World Wars, producing noteworthy planes. The state’s legacy expanded with the creation of major airfields like Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. This history showcases Maryland’s role in military aviation, commercial flight, and aerospace research.

1784 – First Manned Flight Over Baltimore
Edward Warren, at the age of 13, makes first recorded manned flight in the United States, in a balloon, over the City of Baltimore.
1909 – College Park Airport Begins Operations
College Park Airport begins operations. Today, it is the oldest operating airport in the United States.
Logan Field
1921 – The Opening of Logan Field
Logan Field, the first commercial aviation facility in Maryland, opens in Baltimore.
1929 – Airmail Service Begins
Regular airmail service begins.
1930 – First Passenger Service from Logan Field
Eastern Air Transport Company, now Eastern Airlines, inaugurates first scheduled passenger service from Logan Field.
1946 – A New Maryland Airport
Master plan for a new airport in Maryland complete. The Baltimore Aviation Commission selects 3,200-acre site in the vicinity of Friendship Church, Anne Arundel County, 10 miles south of Baltimore and 30 miles north of Washington, D.C.
Friendship International Airport
1947 – Construction Begins
Construction on new airport begins and is officially named Friendship International Airport.
Friendship dedication walking with BWI tower in background
1950 – Friendship International Airport Dedication
President Harry S. Truman dedicates Friendship International Airport on June 24th. Scheduled airline service begins one month later. The airport is viewed as the most advanced in the United States.
1957 – Record-Breaking Transcontinental Flight
Friendship International Airport is the East Coast terminus of the record-breaking transcontinental flight by first Boeing 707 jetliner.
1959 – The Douglas DC-8
Federal Certification Ceremonies for the Douglas DC-8 are celebrated at Friendship International Airport.
1972 – MDOT Purchase of Friendship
The State of Maryland, through the Department of Transportation (MDOT), purchases Friendship International Airport from the City of Baltimore for $36 million. Under MDOT, the State Aviation Administration takes over airfield operations and grows from three employees to more than 200.
BWI terminal late 1970s
1973 - Baltimore/Washington International Airport
Plan to upgrade, improve and modernize all Maryland airport facilities is announced by Secretary of Transportation, Harry Hughes. The airport is renamed Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI) to reflect its role as the transportation center of the region.
1952 Terminal
1974 – BWI Improvements
First phase of BWI modernization complete at a cost of $30 million; upgrades include: improved instrument landing capabilities and runway systems and construction of three new air cargo terminals, expanding the airport’s freight capacity to 110,000 square feet.
BWI terminal area - 1970s
1979 – Terminal Renovations / Development Council
Passenger terminal renovation complete, the most dramatic work of the airport’s modernization. BWI more than doubles in size to 635,000 square feet, gate positions increase from 20 to 27. Total cost of project: $70 million.

BWI Development Council established to support initiatives for airport development.
1980 – Amtrak Rail Station Opening
BWI Amtrak Rail Station opens, serving passengers throughout the Northeast Corridor. BWI becomes first airport in the U.S. to have a rail station on airport grounds.
1983 – New Tower, Piedmont Hub, Pier D & A New General Aviation Center
  • New FAA Control Tower dedicated, doubling space for FAA tower operations. Modern radar and electronic equipment installed both in the tower and on the runway system.
  • BWI selected by Piedmont Airlines as hub facility. Major flight expansion by the carrier begins July 15th.
  • Pier D expanded from seven to 19 gates to meet Piedmont’s hub operation needs.
  • New General Aviation Center opens on the east side of BWI to meet the needs of private and corporate aircraft users, includes an executive terminal, parking and hangar facilities and a 3,600-foot general aviation runway.
1986 – Upgrades
  • New master plan study, a comprehensive development plan, is completed with recommendations covering airfield improvements, terminal expansion, parking, cargo buildings, noise abatement, maintenance and fire/rescue facilities.
  • Major replacement and upgrade begins on runway and taxiway lighting system.
1987 – Runway 10/28 Work
Runway 10/28 rehabilitated.
1988 – Pier D Opening & More Runway Work
  • BWI celebrates official opening of new commuter terminal and expansion of Pier D to handle growth of USAir/Piedmont hub operation.
  • Runway 15L/33R rehabilitated.
1989 – Security Enhancements & New Passenger Record
  • Work begins to lengthen the General Aviation runway at BWI to 5,000 feet to accommodate commercial commuter traffic.
  • Over and above FAA requirements, BWI enhances its security system.
  • BWI breaks all previous passenger traffic records, reaching more than one million passengers in a month for the first time (Aug.). Totals 10.4million passengers for the year.
1990 – Icelandair, I-195 & Record Growth
  • Icelandair begins Boeing 757 service from BWI to Iceland-Stockholm.
  • After five years of work, Interstate I-195 opens, connecting BWI directly to I-95, greatly improving access from the Baltimore-Washington metro area.
  • BWI ends year with record growth in international passengers (up 34 percent) and freight (up nearly 70 percent) over 1989 totals.
Parking Garage Construction
1991 – New Parking Garage
New, four-level parking garage, located in the front of the main terminal, opens Sept. 16th. Total cost of the project is $29 million. The garage features space for rental car facilities and 2,800 parking spaces to ease drop-off/pick-up traffic congestion.
1992 – Canadian Connections, International Pier & Bike Trail
  • Air Ontario, an Air Canada connector, begins three daily flights from BWI to Toronto. BWI becomes first area airport to offer service to three major Canadian cities.
  • Design work begins in October for new international pier, to include ticket counters, gates, federal processing facilities and a terminus for the light rail line from the Baltimore region.
  • Construction begins on the BWI Bike Trail, linking recreational resources around BWI and connecting to the Baltimore Annapolis Trail.
1993 – Runway Extension, Southwest & New London Service
  • Construction begins in June on an extension to Runway 10/28 to better accommodate long haul international traffic.
  • Southwest Airlines Co. selects BWI as its first East Coast gateway airport. Service begins on Sept. 15th to Cleveland and Chicago.
  • British Airways opens service to London’s Gatwick Airport.
BWI Bike Trail
1994 - Construction, Expansion, Record Growth
  • Construction starts on first de-icing pad adjacent to Runway 15R. The pad was partially completed and used for limited de-icing fluid collection during the winter of 1994-1995.
  • First section (4.4-miles) of the 12.6-mile BWI Bike Trail opens in July. Built largely with federal funds, the trail links community resources and employers on the East Side of the airport.
  • Mass Transit Administration breaks ground on multi-story-parking garage for BWI Rail Station.
  • BWI breaks ground on $27.6 million expansion to extend Pier C, bringing six additional domestic gate positions to the terminal. Southwest Airlines Co. signs up for all six new gate positions.
  • Airfield capacity at BWI boosted with completion of extension to Commercial Runway 10/28. The 10,500-foot expansion enables the airport to handle long-haul air traffic in most weather conditions.
  • Construction begins on $140-million international terminal to handle projected traffic increases into the 21st century. The new wing will add six gates, more ticket counter space, and expands the existing U.S. Customs and Immigration and Naturalization Service facilities.
  • Over 12.8 million passengers served by BWI Airport in 1994, an all-time high nearly 36 percent more than the previous year.
BWI Marshall Observation Gallery
1995 - New BWI Observation Gallery and More Growth
  • SuperShuttle initiates ground transportation service to Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington D.C. First de-icing pad complete, accommodating simultaneous de-icing for up to five commercial jet aircraft, included is a 600,000-gallon storage tank and transmission pipeline between the de-icing pad and tank.
  • Construction on second de-icing pad, adjacent to Runway 15L/33, begins.
  • First new gates of Pier C expansion in use, renovations continue.
  • BWI Observation Gallery officially opens to the public with enthusiastic response to the Gallery and the Smithsonian Museum Shop.
  • Phase Two of the BWI Bike Trail opens to public; Tom Dixon Aircraft Observation Area, on Dorsey Road, re-opens with paved parking, rest room facilities and bike racks.
  • United Airlines adds daily non-stop service to San Francisco, with connections to Hong Kong, Osaka, Seoul, Taipei and Tokyo.
  • Total passenger traffic at BWI reaches nearly 13.2 million, eclipsing the previous mark set in 1994. The combined commercial passenger increases of 2.7 percent at BWI, in 1995, exceed the 1.4 percent growth rate reported for U.S. airline traffic nationwide, as reported by the Air Transport Association (ATA).
1996 - Parking & De-Icing Expansion
  • Southwest Airlines begins non-stop flights to Tampa and Orlando and direct service to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
  • BWI Parking Garage expansion project more than doubles the size of the existing garage, accommodating 5,600 vehicles.
  • Construction on second de-icing pad complete. The $2.5 million facility accommodates simultaneous de-icing for up to three commuter or general aviation aircraft.
  • Total passenger traffic at BWI tops 13.4 million, a new record for the third consecutive year.
1997 - New International Pier and Doppler Radar
  • Federal Aviation Administration brings new, Terminal Doppler Weather Radar System (TDWRS) on line. The TDWRS is better able to detect microbursts and windshear.
  • BWI’s new, state-of-the-art Aircraft Rescue Fire-fighting Facility opens in July, housing all aircraft rescue and fire-fighting resources in one location.
  • Construction completed on $1.5 million project to modify drains at Pier C. Upgrades, and two additional glycol recovery vehicles, allow collection of de-icing fluid from 13 aircraft gates.
  • BWI parking garage expansion project complete, providing a total of 5,600 spaces, 4,600 for public use and 1,000 spaces for rental car storage.
  • First moving walkways installed from the airport’s parking garage through the pedestrian tunnel, open to the public.
  • Frontier Airlines begins service from BWI to Denver, Colorado.
  • Governor William Donald Schaefer International Terminal opens. The $140 million project features Light Rail service on the lower level.
  • Total passenger traffic at BWI reaches more than 14 million, a new record for the fourth consecutive year.
Photo of a plane being de-iced
1998 - More De-Icing Expansion
  • Southwest Airlines Co. pilot base opened at BWI, brings 200 new jobs with an estimated $42.3 million annual economic impact.
  • Adjacent to Runway 28, construction begins on third BWI de-icing pad.
  • More than 15 million passengers choose the ‘easy come, easy go’ airport, a new record for the fifth year in a row.
Photo of AB Renovations
1999 - AB Renovations & Bike Trail
  • Runway 28 de-icing pad complete, cost: $7.4 million. The pad accommodates up to seven commercial jets. Phase II of the Runway 28 pad project will add a second 600,000-gallon de-icing fluid storage tank and construct an underground piping system to pump fluid to the tank, cost: $3.5million.
  • MAA announces a unique public/private partnership that will build, own and operate new Cargo Complex on the midfield of BWI.
  • Plans begin for renovation of Piers A and B, cost: $85.2 million. BWI project will provide more gates for the expansion of Southwest Airlines Co.
  • BWI hiker/biker trail complete. The 12.5-mile recreational trail is the only one of its kind in the country that encircles the property of a major commercial airport.
  • Southwest Airlines Co. opens first East Coast flight attendant crew base at BWI.
  • BWI wins International Marketing Award for its innovative and effective advertising campaign in various British media outlets
  • Total passenger traffic reaches more than 17.4 million, a new record for the sixth consecutive year and 16.2 percent increase over 1998 total.
Ghana Airways Logo
2000 - Ghana, VISION & AEDs
  • Maryland and Ghanaian officials gather to celebrate Ghana Airways inaugural flight between BWI and the Ghanaian capital of Accra.
  • BWI’s five-year, $1.8 billion expansion and improvement VISION unveiled.
  • Aer Lingus, the Irish national airline, begins service from BWI Airport.
  • The Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) completes installation of 29 life-saving, automatic external defibrillator (AED) units throughout the BWI terminal complex.
  • Total passenger traffic reaches more than 19.6 million, a new record for the seventh consecutive year and 12.4 percent increase compared with 1999 totals.
2001 - Smart Park & AirTran
  • BWI named the fastest growing airport among the 30 busiest in North America.
  • Groundbreaking for BWI’s five-year, $1.8 billion expansion program.
  • BWI becomes first airport in the U. S. to implement high-tech parking guidance system, BWI Smart Park, and the only metro-area airport with technology allowing customers to prepay for parking service (Pay-and-Go).
  • BWI is credited with being one of the most powerful economic engines in Maryland, generating $6.5 billion and 85,000 jobs for the state’s economy.
  • AirTran Airways joins BWI’s list of service providers with three daily non-stop flights between BWI and Boston and three daily nonstop flights between BWI and Atlanta.
  • BWI serves two million passengers in a single month for the first time in July, then again in August.
  • Total passenger traffic reaches more than 20.4 million, a new record for the eighth consecutive year and 3.9 percent increase compared with 2000 totals
Photo of TSA Checkpoint
2002 - Paul Wiedefeld & TSA
  • For the second year in a row, ACI-NA data shows BWI as the fastest growing airport among the 30 busiest in North America.
  • Midwest Express initiates non-stop service between Milwaukee and BWI, thus becoming the fourth airline in four months to establish service at Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
  • Paul J. Wiedefeld named new Executive Director of the Maryland Aviation Administration. Mr. Wiedefeld, 46, previously held the position of vice-president for the engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, Quade and Douglas, Inc., managing the company’s Baltimore Office.
  • BWI becomes first U.S. airport to have federal security screeners working at checkpoints and airline jetways.
  • Maryland Board of Public Works approves a $10.2 million contract for the construction of a customer service building within the new Consolidated Rental Car Facility at BWI.
  • Aer Lingus Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh, announces the Irish national air carrier plans to re-establish direct international service between Dublin/Shannon and BWI.
  • Maryland Board of Public Works approves a $3 million contract for the demolition and re-construction of Pier A to create a 31-gate continuous concourse for Southwest Airlines Co. This project signals the beginning of major terminal expansion at BWI.
Photo of New Rental Car Facility
2003 - New Rental Car Facility
  • Joseph Paul Malandrino, Jr. replaces Arnold Cole as the new Federal Security Director at BWI. Prior to his role at BWI, Mr. Malandrino managed the operations department at Washington Dulles-International Airport, with responsibility for airport security.
  • The Asphalt Pavement Alliance (APA) announces BWI as a winner of the 2002 Perpetual Pavement Award. To qualify for this prestigious award, a pavement must meet strict criteria and demonstrate Hot Mix Asphalt’s long-life characteristics, excellence in design, quality in construction and value to the traveling public. It also must have been constructed at least 35 years ago.
  • Air Tran Airways begins non-stop service between BWI and Freeport International Airport on Grand Bahama Island. This is the only service linking Grand Bahama Island to the nation’s capital.
  • Southwest begins transcontinental service from BWI to San Diego and San Jose.
  • Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. welcomes the return of Aer Lingus to BWI. The Irish national airline begins once daily round trip flight from BWI to Ireland’s Shannon and Dublin Airports.
  • Hooters Air celebrates inaugural flight from BWI to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • BWI earns top honors at annual Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Excellence in Marketing and Communications Contest in the categories of Photography, Public Relations Campaigns and Television Advertising. BWI also awarded second place in the Marketing Campaigns category and third place for Color Print Advertising.
  • Rest and Recuperation Leave Program begins at BWI for Operation Iraqi Freedom service members and Department of Defense civilians. The program allows members on 12-month orders to take a 15-day break from the mission with free air travel to the United States and Europe.
  • The BWI Airport Fire and Rescue Department receives the 2003 American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Valor Award. BWI’s nomination for the national honor was based on their superb performance over a 12-month period, in 2002 and 2003, when the department responded to an airfield record of 2,726 calls.
  • BWI’s first of three skywalks opens to the public. The skywalk at Concourse D connects the Airport terminal with Level 6 of the Hourly Garage. The skywalk provides quick, safe and convenient access to and from the main terminal.
  • BWI opens $134.8 million Consolidated Rental Car Facility, centralizing the operations of eight different national rental car companies. The 47,000-square-foot customer service building and 22-acre parking garage simplifies the system of getting travelers to and from their rental cars.
Photo of New Skywalks
2004 - Skywalks & Cell Phone Lot
  • USA 3000 and US Airways began service from BWI to Bermuda.
  • BWI serves as first of 115 U.S. international airports using the outgoing US-VISIT process. Designed and implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology process is used to confirm the identity of travelers entering and exiting the U.S. via air travel. All international airports perform incoming US-VISIT functions; BWI is test airport for the outgoing system.
  • Free Arrival Waiting Area, also known as the Cell Phone Lot opens at BWI. The lot provides drivers with about 50 short-term parking spaces as they await cell phone contact from arriving travelers. The lot is an alternative that saves drivers time, while limiting traffic in front of the Airport terminal during construction.
  • BWI’s second skywalk opens to the public, connecting the terminal (at Concourse B) to Level 6 of the Hourly Garage. This is the second of three skywalks to be completed and opened to the public. The skywalks provide quick, safe and convenient access to and from the main terminal.
  • Tripling the number of parking spaces available close to the main terminal building, BWI opened the new Daily Garage. Located at MD 170 (Aviation Blvd) and Elm Road, the garage offers 8,400 spaces and was constructed with “Smart Park” technology. “Smart Park” is an automated guidance system intended to make finding a space quick and easy. At the time of opening, BWI was the only East Coast airport to mount ultrasonic sensors over each parking space to monitor the availability of spaces.
2005 - Thurgood Marshall, Tim Campbell & A/B Reopening
  • Governor Ehrlich officially dedicated the new Terminal A/B facility at BWI. The 510,000 square foot facility provides for 11 new gates for Southwest Airlines, which connect to 15 current gates on Concourse B creating a compact, 26-gate concourse facility. Terminal A/B also includes in-line baggage screening and additional passenger screening checkpoints to help expedite screening procedures. A number of new food and retail concessions are also available.
  • BWI’s name officially becomes Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Recognizing the achievements and the legacy of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, an exhibit chronicling his life and career is displayed on the upper level of the BWI terminal.
  • Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan announces senior aviation executive Tim Campbell to lead BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. Mr. Campbell has more than 30 years of airport-management experience and was most recently the Executive Director at Salt Lake City Department of Airports.
  • New daily non-stop service between BWI and Mexico City begins as BWI welcomes Mexicana Airlines. From its operations hub in Mexico City, the airline flies to more than 50 destinations in North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The annual economic impact from this new international service at BWI is projected to be more than $54 million.
  • BWI relocated the Express Service Parking (ESP) lot to a site closer and more convenient to the airport terminal.
2006 - BWI Voted Among Best in North America
  • BWI’s concessions program is heralded by Airport Revenue News with the 2006 award for Airport with the Best Concession Program. In addition to the overall award for Airport with Best Concession Program, several individual operators were recognized: Fire & Ice, Jos. A. Banks, Borders Books, and Hudson News were all singled out with their own awards in the annual competition. BAA Maryland is responsible for the subleasing, design, construction, tenant coordination, and management of the Airport’s food and retail program.
  • North American Airlines begins one weekly international flight to Banjul, The Gambia and continuing to Accra, Ghana. This new international air service is estimated to provide an annual economic impact of $40 million for the State of Maryland.
  • BWI ranked among the best North American Airports for Passenger Satisfaction. The J.D. Power and Associates and Aviation Week study ranked BWI Thurgood Marshall airport third in overall passenger satisfaction among medium-sized (10 million to 30 million passengers) airports. The study measured overall airport satisfaction based on eight specific performance factors – airport accessibility, check-in/baggage check, terminal facilities, food and beverage, retail services, baggage claim, and immigration/customs control.
  • BWI served as the primary repatriation site for American citizens evacuating Lebanon. During this time 19 flights carrying 4,492 repatriates arrived at BWI. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Human Resources (DHR), and BWI worked together to coordinate services provided to the repatriates arriving from Cyprus.
2007 - Air Carrier Airport of the Year
  • BWI Marshall is showcased in a list of the “Top Ten Easiest U.S. Airports To Get To” by Aviation.com. Created for business travelers, industry analysts, and aviation enthusiasts, the site ranked BWI Marshall the tenth easiest U.S. airport for access.
  • The food and retail concessions program at BWI Marshall is again honored by industry publication Airport Revenue News with the 2007 award for “Best Overall Concessions” in the medium-sized airport category.
  • 20,698,967 commercial passengers flew through BWI Marshall Airport in 2006. This figure, an increase of 4.8% over 2005, represents an all-time record for passenger traffic.
  • The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), Airfield Lighting Committee, recognizes BWI Marshall Airport as its Air Carrier Airport of the Year. IESNA’s Airfield Lighting Committee selected BWI Marshall based on an airfield project that installed specialized lighting to enhance safety and assist in aircraft navigation.
2008 - Best Concession Program
  • BWI’s concessions program is heralded by Airport Revenue News with the 2006 award for Airport with the Best Concession Program. In addition to the overall award for Airport with Best Concession Program, several individual operators were recognized: Fire & Ice, Jos. A. Banks, Borders Books, and Hudson News were all singled out with their own awards in the annual competition. BAA Maryland is responsible for the subleasing, design, construction, tenant coordination, and management of the Airport’s food and retail program.
  • North American Airlines begins one weekly international flight to Banjul, The Gambia and continuing to Accra, Ghana. This new international air service is estimated to provide an annual economic impact of $40 million for the State of Maryland.
  • BWI ranked among the best North American Airports for Passenger Satisfaction. The J.D. Power and Associates and Aviation Week study ranked BWI Thurgood Marshall airport third in overall passenger satisfaction among medium-sized (10 million to 30 million passengers) airports. The study measured overall airport satisfaction based on eight specific performance factors – airport accessibility, check-in/baggage check, terminal facilities, food and beverage, retail services, baggage claim, and immigration/customs control.
  • BWI served as the primary repatriation site for American citizens evacuating Lebanon. During this time 19 flights carrying 4,492 repatriates arrived at BWI. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Human Resources (DHR), and BWI worked together to coordinate services provided to the repatriates arriving from Cyprus.
Photo of US Servicemen Returning Home
2009 - 10 Years of USO
  • 20.95 million passengers flew through BWI Marshall Airport in 2009, an increase of 2.3%. BWI Marshall was one of only two major U.S. airports to show growth in 2009.
  • JetBlue Airways launched service at BWI Marshall Airport. The airline offered daily flights between BWI Marshall and Boston.
  • Cape Air began service between BWI Marshall Airport and two destinations – Hagerstown, Maryland and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
  • BWI Marshall Airport established a Twitter account to provide travel information and Airport status reports to customers.
  • BWI Marshall Airport began the C-D Apron Reconstruction Project, a $41 million project to reconstruct and replace pavement on the aircraft ramp and taxilane located between Concourses C and D. Funding for the project included a $15 million Federal Aviation Administration grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
  • The USO of Metropolitan Washington and BWI Marshall Airport celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the USO International Gateway Lounge. More than 600,000 military service members and their families have used the facility at BWI Marshall Airport since it opened in December 1999.
2010 - BWI Marshall Celebrates 60 Years
  • 21.9 million passengers flew through BWI Marshall Airport in 2010, a new all-time annual record for passenger traffic. That figure was a 4.7% increase over 2009.
  • BWI Marshall Airport was named the best in the world for passenger satisfaction among airports serving 15-25 million passengers, according to the Airports Council International (ACI), Airport Service Quality survey.
  • BWI Marshall Airport constructed a sophisticated new inline baggage screening system. The D/E Baggage Screening and Claims Improvement project (DEBSCI) constructed a new outbound baggage security system to help accommodate future airline growth.
  • BWI Marshall Airport celebrated 60 years of service to residents and businesses of Maryland, and to travelers from around the world. Since its dedication as Friendship International Airport on June 24, 1950, the Airport has been a leader in commercial aviation for the State of Maryland and the entire National Capital region.
  • The Maryland Board of Public works approved a contract for BWI Marshall Airport to implement a comprehensive Energy Efficiency Program. The energy performance contract will generate substantial energy and operational savings. Specific energy conservation measures will include: a new 505 kW solar system on the top level of the BWI Marshall Airport Daily Garage, comprehensive lighting improvements, energy infrastructure replacement projects at the Airport’s central utility plant and main terminal building, and the installation of modern water conservation measures.
2011 - EV Charging Stations
  • 22.39 million passengers flew through BWI Marshall Airport in 2011. This annual passenger traffic figure, an increase of 2.1% over 2012, represents a new all-time record for BWI Marshall.
  • BWI Marshall Airport installed electric vehicle charging stations during the spring of 2011. The eight charging stations, located in the Daily Garage and the Hourly Garage, allow travelers to charge their electric vehicles.
  • In September 2011, BWI Marshall closed its two primary commercial runways for one weekend to complete a major pavement maintenance project. The improvement project rehabilitated the pavement located at the intersection of the two major runways.
  • In November 2011, AirTran Airways shifted its operation from Concourse D at BWI Marshall to Terminal A/B, home of Southwest Airlines. Southwest formally closed on its acquisition of AirTran in May 2011.
  • Delta Air Lines moved its operation from Concourse C to Concourse D in December 2011.
2012 - Solar, Condor, Spirit & the BC Connector
  • BWI Marshall Airport set a third straight annual passenger record in 2012. About 22.68 million passengers flew through BWI Marshall in 2012, a 1.3 percent increase over 2011 and a new all-time annual record.
  • Two new airlines started service at BWI Marshall in 2012. In July, Condor Airlines started twice-weekly season service between BWI Marshall and Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt is a major international destination and an important European hub market. In September, Spirit Airlines began service to Fort Lauderdale and Dallas / Fort Worth.
  • BWI Marshall installed a 505 kW solar photovoltaic system on the top level of the Daily Garage. The system was designed to produce over 600,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year. The BWI Marshall solar project is one measure in a broad energy efficiency program for the Airport.
  • In the summer of 2012, construction started on a major terminal enhancement program at BWI Marshall. The work will improve and modernize the passenger terminal and provide new services for travelers. The construction includes: a new, expanded security checkpoint; a secure connector between Concourses B and C with moving sidewalks and other passenger amenities; and an improved Concourse C facility with enhanced airline gate hold rooms and new food and retail space.
  • BWI Marshall introduced a complimentary wireless internet option for travelers.
  • The Airport continued its comprehensive, multi-year program to rehabilitate and improve runways and airfield pavement. The 2012 work focused primarily on Runway 10-28.
Photo of Cardio Trail Sign
2013 - Observation Gallery Renovation & BWI Cardio Trail
  • The B/C Connector and a new security checkpoint opened in April. The bright, large new checkpoint serves all airline gates on concourses A, B, and C. The post-security, airside connector links Concourse C with concourses A and B.
  • The BWI Marshall Airport Observation Gallery reopened after a year of renovation and improvements. The work included new exhibits featuring Maryland aviation history and the creation of a new cocktail lounge.
  • BWI Marshall Airport introduced two walking paths in the terminal. The BWI Cardio Trail provides passengers with new options to exercise.
2014 - Southwest Goes International
  • Service to several international markets shifted to Southwest Airlines. These flights were among the first-ever international flights for Southwest Airlines.
  • Alaska Airlines started service at BWI Marshall Airport, with nonstop flights to Seattle.
  • Runway 4-22 was permanently closed in August. As part of a major, multi-year series of airfield improvements, the runway was converted to a taxiway.
  • BWI Marshall Airport was rated the healthiest U.S. airport by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The organization found that 92 percent of the airport’s restaurants featured healthy options for travelers, the most among U.S. airports.
Photo of International Pier
2015 - One Million International Travelers
  • WOW air launched service between BWI Marshall Airport and Reykjavik, Iceland. The innovative, low-fare international airline offers easy connections to markets across Europe.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle started international service between BWI Marshall Airport and two destinations in the French Caribbean – Martinique and Guadeloupe.
  • BWI Marshall Airport set a new annual record for passenger traffic with 22.8 million passengers. For the first time ever, BWI Marshall Airport recorded more than 1 million international passengers in a year.
2016 - Allegiant & the New DE Connector
  • Allegiant began service at BWI Marshall Airport with service to six markets-Asheville, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Knoxville, TN; Lexington, KY; Savannah, GA; and Tulsa, OK.
  • BWI Marshall Airport opened a new playground at the Thomas A. Dixon Aircraft Observation Area on the southern side of the airport.
  • In August, British Airways upgraded its service between BWI Marshall Airport and London Heathrow to the airline’s sophisticated, innovative Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
  • The new D/E Connector opened just before Thanksgiving. The major improvement program provides additional international airline capacity and new passenger services, including a new security checkpoint to serve domestic and international passengers.
  • BWI Marshall Airport set a second-straight annual record for passenger traffic. More than 25.1 million passengers flew through BWI Marshall Airport in 2016. The airport set monthly passenger records for each month in 2016.
Photo of ROAM Fitness Entrance
2017 - DE Expansion & ROAM Fitness
  • ROAM Fitness, a first-of-its-kind fitness facility, opens at BWI Marshall Airport just inside Security Checkpoint D/E.
  • BWI Marshall Airport sets an annual passenger record for the second consecutive year. More than 25.1 million passengers flew through BWI Marshall Airport in 2016. In addition to the cumulative record for 2016, the airport also set monthly passenger traffic records for each month during 2016.
  • The Maryland Board of Public Works approves a plan to expand and improve Concourse E. The 3-level, 70,000 square foot extension will support additional international service.
  • The retail program at BWI Marshall Airport earns second place recognition in the 2017 Airport Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Excellence in Airport Concessions Awards.
  • Spirit Airlines begins international service at BWI Marshall Airport. Service to Cancun, Mexico begins in November.
  • In August, BWI Marshall Airport welcomes Contour Airlines. The carrier provides service to/from Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Macon, Georgia.
  • In November, 60-foot articulated, compressed natural gas buses are introduced, offering passengers round-the-clock service to the airport’s rental car facility.
  • BWI Marshall Airport and concessions developer Fraport Maryland introduce the LaunchPad program for local entrepreneurs. Two LaunchPad businesses join the retail program at BWI Marshall Airport in the program’s first year.
Southwest Airlines Logo
2018 - 25 Years With Southwest
  • An updated economic impact study reveals BWI Marshall Airport produces more than $9.3 billion in total economic activity. The airport creates and supports more than 106,000 jobs in the region.
  • Governor Hogan announces a third consecutive record for annual passenger traffic. BWI Marshall Airport surpassed 26 million passengers in calendar year 2017.
  • The Fly Away Valet service is introduced in February, offering passengers one more convenient way to park and fly at BWI Marshall Airport.
  • International service continues to expand at BWI Marshall Airport. WOWair doubles its capacity for Summer 2018 from the previous year. Icelandair joins the BWI Marshall Airport family with service to Iceland beginning in May. That same month, Air Canada begins offering daily nonstop service to Montreal.
  • ROAM Fitness is honored by the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA). The state-of-the-art fitness facility receives third-place recognition in the Best Innovative Consumer Experience Concept category.
  • BWI Marshall Airport is recognized as a Best Airport by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. The airport was named the 10th best U.S. airport in a survey that included 429,000 reader surveys.
  • Southwest Airlines celebrates its 25th anniversary of service at BWI Marshall Airport in September. The airline maintains the airport’s biggest airline operation, serving more than 65% of BWI Marshall passengers.
  • In September, Southwest Airlines announces its intention to construct and operate a major aircraft maintenance facility at BWI Marshall Airport. The proposed 130,000 square-foot maintenance hangar is expected to produce 450 jobs over 3 years.
  • Two additional LaunchPad businesses join the retail program at BWI Marshall Airport.
2019 - R&R & Frontier
  • Governor Hogan announces a 4th-straight passenger traffic record at BWI Marshall Airport. Annual passenger traffic in 2018 increased 2.9% to 27.1 million passengers.
  • BWI Marshall Airport welcomes Frontier Airlines with nonstop service to Denver and Orlando.
  • R&R Seafood is recognized in the 2019 Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) Airport Concessions Awards. The restaurant and raw bar receives third-place recognition in the Best New Food and Beverage/Full Concept category.
  • In June, Southwest Airlines introduces nonstop seasonal service to Grand Cayman. The Saturday flights are seasonal from June-November.
2020 - COVID, Minute Suites & "We'll Take You There"
  • 11 airport restaurants are showcased to dozens of area foodie bloggers and social media personalities in the Bites At BWI event. Executive Chef Ype Von Hengst of Silver Diner served as guest host of the event.
  • In January, Spirit Airlines announces international expansion at BWI Marshall Airport with plans to offer nonstop service to San Salvador, while also increasing nonstop service to Miami, Fort Lauderdale and San Juan.
  • The Maryland Board of Public Works awards a Wi-Fi contract to a new service provider, SmartCity Wireless Solutions of BWI, LLC (operating as Slice Wireless). The agreement is intended to provide guests with free Wi-Fi service featuring improved coverage and speed in the terminal, the rental car facility and aboard airport shuttles.
  • The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) recognizes BWI Marshall Airport for its inclusion and diversity efforts. The airport is recognized as ACI-NA’s Large Hub Inclusion Champion while Executive Director Ricky Smith is the recipient of the 2020 Leon C. Watkins Guardian Award for Excellence in Business Diversity.
  • In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sun Country Airlines makes its debut at BWI Marshall Airport. The airline begins nonstop service to Minneapolis-St. Paul in June.
  • BWI Marshall Airport welcomes Minute Suites to Concourse C. The 5-suite location provides guests with a location to comfortably relax, work or sleep.
  • BWI Marshall Airport and its marketing firm, Weber Shandwick, are recognized with three notable honors for the “We’ll Take You There” campaign: an Emmy® Award from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, an international Hermes Platinum Creative Award, and an American Advertising Federation Baltimore Chapter ADDY Gold Award.
Sign for Real-Time Social Distancing Scans
2021 - LiDAR, A Extension, First Call & GateWaiter
  • As part of the airport’s COVID-19 response, LiDAR-enabled sensors analyze passenger movements in security checkpoint queueing areas. The system generates real time social distancing messaging on digital displays at each security checkpoint.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport was named as the top North American airport in its size category in the 2020 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards. The annual comprehensive survey measures customer satisfaction across 34 key performance indicators.
  • A partnership with nonprofit ArtWorks For Freedom brings two powerful art exhibits to the airport to raise awareness of human trafficking. One exhibit features the work of 20 aspiring teen artists. Another exhibit, “Bought & Sold: Voices of Human Trafficking”, has been presented in cities across the United States and around the world.
  • A $48 million extension to Concourse A opens to passengers. The area features 5 new boarding aircraft boarding gates for Southwest Airlines, two new restaurants, one retail shop and innovative restrooms.
  • Four new fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations open in the airport Cell Phone Lot. The state-of-the-art charging stations provide up to an 80 percent charge in as little as 15 minutes.
  • Icelandair announces it will launch seasonal service between BWI Marshall Airport and Reykjavik, Iceland beginning in May 2022.
  • BWI Marshall Airport is recognized for its COVID-19 response by receiving the Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) STAR accreditation. The recognition is reserved for organizations that demonstrate a superior commitment to healthy, clean operations.
  • FirstCall Medical Center opens in the airport’s Main Terminal. The state-of-the-art urgent care facility offers a wide range of medical services, including COVID-19 testing and vaccinations.
  • In September, Air Senegal launches one-stop service between BWI Marshall Airport and Dakar, Senegal. The airline operates two roundtrip flights per week to Blaise Diagne International Airport, with a stop at New York’s JFK International Airport.
  • GateWaiter, a mobile ordering platform enabling travelers to order food for pickup or delivery anywhere inside the terminal, debuts at BWI Marshall Airport. The platform is powered by Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace technology, with delivery by AtYourGate.
  • The Maryland Board of Public Works approves a plan to construct a Southwest Airlines aircraft maintenance facility on airport grounds. The maintenance facility will be the first in the Northeastern United States for the airline.