BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, what has become the D.C. region’s busiest airport, was dedicated 70 years ago this week.
President Harry S. Truman officially dedicated Friendship International Airport on June 24, 1950. “I dedicate this great airport to the cause of peace in the world,” Truman said at a tarmac ceremony on that date.
At the time, the airport was considered as the most advanced commercial airport in the U.S.
In 1957, Friendship International Airport was the East Coast terminus for the record-breaking transcontinental flight by the first Boeing 707 airliner. Federal certification ceremonies for the Douglas DC-8 were celebrated at the airport in 1959.
The state of Maryland purchased Friendship International Airport from the City of Baltimore for $36 million in 1972, and a year later, it was renamed Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
In 2005, the airport was renamed Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, after former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, a Baltimore native.
BWI Marshall had almost 27 million commercial airlines passengers in 2019.
Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.