The Maryland Board of Public Works approved two contracts for the construction and operation of a major Southwest Airlines maintenance facility at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). The board, chaired by Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, approved a $44.6 million construction contract to develop the site and lease agreement for Southwest Airlines to build and operate the maintenance facility.
“This is a particularly exciting project and long-term partnership that will benefit the State of Maryland for years to come,” said Rutherford. “This would be another key maintenance facility for Southwest Airlines and enhances an established long-term and strategic relationship. Our administration continues to support BWI as a major transportation hub, as well as a catalyst for tourism, trade and economic development.”
The 27-acre site will include a hangar to accommodate up to three Boeing 737 aircrafts and an apron space to accommodate up to eight Southwest Airlines jets, along with associated office and workshop space. The maintenance facility cost is estimated around $135 million, which includes an investment of approximately $90 million from the airline.
“Southwest Airlines began serving BWI Marshall Airport 28 years ago, and we are honored to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the airport, and to Maryland, by progressing with plans to build a first-class maintenance hangar to support our employees and customers,” said Landon Nitschke, Southwest’s senior vice president of technical operations. “We appreciate the State of Maryland for the continued support of Southwest’s growth, investment, and presence at BWI Marshall Airport. We look forward to marking this next milestone in Southwest’s continued service to the region.”
“This action today underscores the longstanding, successful partnership between Southwest Airlines and the State of Maryland,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater. “As our economy and our transportation networks continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, this is a project that will benefit the airport and the airline while supporting jobs.”
The new maintenance facility will be the first in the Northeastern United States for Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines currently serves about 70 percent of passenger traffic at BWI. According to the airline, there are more than 4,000 Southwest employees at BWI, including technical and maintenance personnel.
“We thank the Board of Public Works for supporting this major addition,” said Ricky Smith, executive director for BWI Marshall Airport. “For more than 25 years, Southwest Airlines has served our market with excellent customer service and efficient flights to many domestic and international destinations. We look forward to this next chapter of the airline’s history at BWI Marshall Airport.”
BWI has seen a strong rebound in passenger traffic as the state continues its recovery from the pandemic. While still below 2019 figures, the airport’s departing passenger traffic in August was up 120 percent from the same period in August 2020. About 95 percent of airport food and retail concessions are now open at BWI.