Baltimore Marshall Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Baltimore Marshall Airport

Baltimore-Washington International Airport is an important air transportation hub in the United States of America, serving over twenty million passengers every year. It is the 23rd busiest in the country for passenger traffic, and the 47th overall in the word for aircraft movements. It is officially known as the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and by its IATA code of BWI. The airport is located particularly nearby to Baltimore, but not too far from Washington, D.C as well. Many airline companies serve this airport, and it is well equipped with facilities for its passengers.

Plans for the BWI Airport were put into place shortly after the Second World War, and its construction began in 1947. It was then known as the Friendship International Airport, perhaps because it was built on the site where the Friendship Methodist Church had stood until the later 1940’s. A number of airline companies moved to the new airport as soon as it was operational, from the Harbor Field Airport of Baltimore. These airlines included American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Airlines. By 1957, the airport had approximately 52 weekly departures. The airport was also used for the early Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s, that were unable to use the Washington National Airport. At this stage the Washington Dulles Airport did not exist, so Baltimore’s airport became Washington’s jet airport, offering a variety of transcontinental flights.

In 1972, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) took over the operations of the airport, and in 1973, it was renamed as the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, in order to attract more customers from the Washington area. Approximately $30 million was then spent on airport renovations and modernizations, which included new runway systems and three new cargo terminals. The passenger terminal was completely renovated by 1979, more than doubling it’s previous size and adding another seven departure gates. The very important railway connection of the airport was completed in 1980, allowing passengers to have access to the Northeast Corridor trains operated by Amtrak. Easier access was now available to Washington, and the airport was noted as being the first in the country with a dedicated inter-city railway station. Today the airport station is served by MARC and Amtrak trains, and is located approximately a mile from the terminal buildings. Complimentary shuttle services are available for the transport of passengers. There is also another railway station at the airport, for light rail service, and this station is found outside of Concourse E.

In later years, the airport was a significant hub for Piedmont Airlines and US Airways, but today is mainly the focus city of Southwest Airlines and Cape Air. Southwest is the airport’s largest carrier, handling over fifty percent of passengers in 2011. The airline company is present in Concourses A and B, which were expanded and renovated in 2005. They are now no longer separate, but are still named as ‘A’ and ‘B’. In 2005, the airport officially received its current name of the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, in honour of a Baltimore native who was the first American to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. In recent years several achievements of the airport are worth noting. In 2008 ‘Health Magazine’ named it as the healthiest airport in the country, and in 2009, it was declared as the top-ranking airport in its category (15-25 million passengers) in the world by a survey conducted by the Airports Council International.

Baltimore-Washington International Airport is found in the state of Maryland, about 10 miles south of Baltimore and 32 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. It is particularly nearby to Hanover, Elkridge, Ferndale, Glen Burnie and Severn, and is located adjacent to the Linthicum CDP in unincorporated northern areas of Anne Arundel County. It can easily be reached by private vehicle, along the Interstates 95, 695 and 97, and the MD-295. There are over 30,000 parking spaces in total, with the most popular found in the Hourly Garage, the Daily Garage, the Long-Term Car Park and Express Lot. It will take about twenty minutes to reach the airport from central Baltimore. Many public and private buses serve the airport as well, and as mentioned, MARC, Amtrak and Light Rail trains are available. Taxis are another way to conveniently travel to or from the airport.

There are five concourses available for passenger operations, referred to as A, B, C, D and E. Concourses A and B have 26 departure gates, and are used by Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, although AirTran Airways is only present at Concourse B. Concourse C is home to American Airlines, American Eagle and Spirit Airlines, while flights by Cape Air, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, JetBlue Airways, United Express, United Airlines, US Airways and US Airways Express depart from Concourse D. It has 38 gates. Concourse E is the international terminal of the airport, home to the airline companies of British Airways, Condor Flugdienst, Bahamasair and Air Canada Express. It has six gates and is officially known as the Governor William Donald Schaefer International Terminal. International flights are offered to Toronto, Frankfurt, Cancun, Freeport, London and Punta Cana. Concourse E is also used by charter airlines, such as North American Airlines, Onmi Air International, Ryan International Airlines and World Airways.

In total, the BWI Airport offers 9 scheduled non-stop international destinations and 65 scheduled non-stop domestic destinations by 27 airline companies. There are approximately 708 commercial operations per day and 61,000 passengers per day. In 2011, the airport handled 22,391,785 passengers, which was a record number for the last five years. The airport is even busier than the Washington-Dulles Airport, although more international passengers pass through Dulles. The top domestic routes served by BWI are to Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Orlando, Detroit, Tampa, Denver, Providence, Fort Lauderdale and Manchester (NH).

In this year (2012) a major terminal enhancement program began which is expected to be completed by the summer of 2013. It will involve the widening of Concourse C, providing it with a connecting corridor between the secure zones of B and C, more security checkpoints and a larger area for airport concessionaries. Concourse C is expected to be taken over by Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways.

All facilities, including banking, currency exchange and free Wi-Fi services are available at Baltimore International Airport. Information is easily found at several information counters, or from the airport volunteers who circulate the building. The airport is completely accessible to disabled passengers as well.