Amid Southwest apologies over cancellations, BWI Marshall expansion continues

On Friday, Southwest Airlines repeated apologies for the massive disruption to service that led to the cancellation of nearly 15,800 flights since Dec. 22, including at Maryland’s BWI Marshall Airport.

The airport’s plans for a $425 million expansion of the facility, where Southwest Airlines has been operating for more than 30 years, continue. Southwest represents about 70% of the traffic at BWI Marshall.

Jonathan Dean, communications director for the airport, told WTOP in an email that while the U.S. Department of Transportation will examine the airline’s response to the flight cancellations, “We are certain that the airline will work through this crisis and make the changes needed to ensure a better passenger experience. We are confident the airline is reviewing their response this week and working to make improvements.”

The airport’s plans include terminal improvements aimed at smoothing domestic connections for passengers between concourses A and B. The addition of new concession space and more modern bathroom facilities are part of the plan as well.

There are also plans to update the baggage-handling system. The completion date is scheduled for 2026.

Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved a $332.5 million contract tied to the projects in October.

Apart from the improvements planned for the airport itself, Dean said, “Southwest is making a significant investment by building an airline maintenance facility at BWI Marshall. This hangar will support technical, good-paying jobs in the airline industry for local residents.”

“There are some 4,600 Southwest employees here in our market,” and Dean called Southwest “a significant economic force.”

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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