BWI Marshall sets passenger departures record over Mother’s Day weekend

BWI Marshall Airport experienced its busiest day for departing passengers on the Friday before Mother’s Day since Maryland first announced a state of emergency due to COVID-19 in March 2020.

The Transportation Security Administration screened a record-breaking 21,742 departing passengers on Friday, a BWI Marshall news release said.

“As vaccination rates climb, Americans are eager to travel,” said Ricky Smith, executive director for BWI Marshall. “We expect passenger growth to accelerate in coming months. The airport and our partners remain focused on providing healthy, safe travel for our customers.”

In Virginia, Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport also had record-breaking days last weekend, Micah Lillard, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said.

“Both Dulles International and Reagan National airports hit new highs since March 2020 for passengers screened by TSA last Friday, May 7: IAD saw 13,348 outbound passengers screened; DCA saw 16,802,” Lillard said.

The trend followed nationally, with more than 1.7 million screened passengers on Mother’s Day — the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic.

The figures show a continued recovery of passenger traffic.

At BWI Marshall, TSA reported a 1,312% increase of departing passengers, compared to April 2020 — when the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic started setting in.

“During that April 2020 low point, passenger traffic at BWI Marshall had been down 96% compared to the previous year,” according to the news release.

On the Thursday before Mother’s Day weekend in 2020, TSA records show nationally only 200,815 passengers were screened for travel at airports across the U.S.

Air travel has been rising slowly for more than a year since hitting bottom in mid-April 2020, but pre-pandemic numbers indicate travel was 29% lower on Mother’s Day in 2019.

“As more people return to air travel, BWI Marshall remains the busiest airport in the region,” the airport touted.

BWI Marshall representatives said 71% of airport food and retail concessions are now open. And last month, the facility reopened its Long Term A parking lot.

“Our team and our partners at BWI Marshall Airport are responding quickly — and with the utmost focus on safety — as air travelers return to the skies,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater. “The numbers we’re seeing reflect customers’ confidence in the comfortable, efficient service they receive from our airport and our carriers. That support motivates us every day.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Glynis Kazanjian

Glynis Kazanjian has been a freelance writer covering Maryland politics and government on the local, state and federal levels for the last 11 years. Her work is published in Maryland Matters, the Baltimore Post Examiner, Bethesda Beat and Md. Reporter. She has also worked as a true crime researcher.

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