Published on : Thursday, December 27, 2018
Southwest is Baltimore-Washington International’s top airline firm. It is accounting for 68 percent of the airport’s passengers last year, or 18.2 million people.
The plans call for adding five new gates and passenger waiting areas as well as food and retail concession space and restrooms in a 55,000-square-foot addition, according to the Maryland Aviation Administration.
The passenger hold rooms will be large enough to accommodate the 175 people Southwest’s new Boeing 737 MAX8 airliners can carry.
The project’s design is expected to be complete next month, and the agency has asked the state Board of Public Works to expedite the procurement process at its next meeting to allow construction to break ground in January and finish by July 2020.
That timeline will allow the airport to temporarily close five other Southwest gates in the concourse beginning July 2020 for upgrades to the A/B Connector and a redesign of the airline’s baggage-handling system, which it has outgrown, the state agency wrote in its request to the Board of Public Works.
The request goes before the board, composed of Gov. Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, on Thursday, July 19, a meeting rescheduled from Wednesday.
If the proposal is approved by the board, the aviation administration plans to solicit bids for the project on its marketplace next month and award the job by December. The board typically approves expansion requests for Baltimore–Washington International Airport.
Baltimore–Washington International Airport is Southwest’s second-busiest airport, with up to 243 departures a day to 64 cities, according to the Dallas-based airline. Its passenger volume at Baltimore–Washington International Airport grew 4.3 percent last year.