By Adrian Maties, Associate Editor
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will begin a major expansion project over the next two years. The project will transform the central section of the airport and will allow passengers to move between concourses A, B and C without having to pass through security a second time.
The renovation project will cost $100 million. BWI spokesman, Jonathan Dean, stated that $35 million will go to design and $65 million to constructiion. Plans include a new, secure airport connector between concourses B and C with two sets of moving sidewalks, an expansion of its C concourse, a new nine-lane security checkpoint as well as improved airline gate hold rooms, additional restrooms and 8,500 square feet of new food and retail space.
In 2010, BWI set new records for passenger traffic, with 21.9 million travelers passing through the airport. This July, the airport saw a record 2.2 million travelers arriving or departing. The expansion project will help accomodate future growth.
Designs for the project have already been approved. BWI officials hope to start hiring contractors after the Maryland Board of Public Works approves the construction of the project. The airport is looking for all types of general construction contractors, including steel, concrete and baggage area contractors and also for companies that do systems and computer work.
Southwest Airlines aquired AirTran Airways earlier this year, becoming the region’s dominant carrier. As a result, AirTran will move its flights to B terminal, the same as Southwest. The move is effective November 16. The airport has added new concessions in Terminal A/B and others are expected to open soon. Delta Airlines will move to AirTran’s former space. As it merges with AirTran, Southwest may add new jobs at BWI in the future.
The airport is paying for the project through fees it charges airlines, including landing and leasing fees, rents paid by concessionaires, parking fees and advertising. The project is set to begin next year and to be finished in summer 2013.