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Baltimore/Washington International Airport facts for kids

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Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
BWI airport terminal.jpg
Airline terminal
Airport type Public
Owner Maryland Aviation Administration
Serves Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area
Location Anne Arundel County, near Glen Burnie, Maryland
Hub for AirTran Airways
Elevation AMSL 146 ft / 45 m
Coordinates 39°10′31″N 076°40′06″W / 39.17528°N 76.66833°W / 39.17528; -76.66833Coordinates: 39°10′31″N 076°40′06″W / 39.17528°N 76.66833°W / 39.17528; -76.66833
A map with a grid overlay showing the terminals runways and other structures of the airport.
FAA airport diagram

Location within Maryland

Direction Length Surface
ft m
4/22 6,000 1,829 Asphalt
10/28 10,502 3,201 Asphalt
15L/33R 5,000 1,524 Asphalt
15R/33L 9,501 2,896 Asphalt
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 100 30 Asphalt
Statistics (2010)
Passengers 21,936,461
Aircraft operations 276,457
Based aircraft 73 (2,010)
Source: Federal Aviation Administration and BWI Airport.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is an international airport serving the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area in the United States. It is commonly called BWI, BWI Airport or BWI Marshall. The airport is in northern unincorporated Anne Arundel County, Maryland. It is about 10 miles (16 km) south of Baltimore and 32 miles (51 km) northeast of Washington, DC. BWI is named after Thurgood Marshall. He is a Baltimore native and the first African American to be on the Supreme Court of the United States.

BWI is a focus city for Southwest Airlines and Cape Air. It is a hub for AirTran Airways. 21.9 million passengers traveled through BWI in 2010. July was the busiest month ever in the airport's history. BWI was the 24th busiest airport in North America in 2010. The airport was also 47th in the world in total aircraft movements in 2008.

In 2010, BWI was listed as the best airport of its size (15–25 mil. passengers) in the world by the Airports Council International. This was based on its 2009 Airport Service Quality survey. The airport also won second place for North American airports in the "Best Food and Beverage Program" of the 2010 Richard A. Griesbach Excellence in Airport Concessions Contest.


The planning to build a new airport on 3,200 acres (1,300 ha) to serve the Baltimore/Washington area began just after World War II. Construction began in 1947. The airport was first named Friendship International Airport after the Friendship Methodist Church which was next to the land used to build the airport until 1948. The airport was opened on June 24, 1950, by President Harry Truman. In April 1957, the airport had 52 weekday departures. Eastern, Capital, American, National, TWA, United, 2 Delta and Allegheny flew through BWI at that time. The early Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s could not use Washington National, and Dulles was not built until 1962, so Baltimore became Washington's jet airport. It dealt with flights across the continent.

The State of Maryland bought Friendship International Airport from Baltimore for $36 million in 1972. The Maryland State Aviation Administration took control of the airfield. To get more passengers from the Washington area, the airport was renamed Baltimore/Washington International Airport in 1973.

The BWI Rail Station opened in 1980. It gave a rail connection to passengers on the Northeast Corridor though Amtrak. BWI became the first airport in the United States to be served by a major rail station. The station had easy access to Washington, D.C. This is something that Washington Dulles International Airport still does not have. In 1997, a new international terminal (Concourse E) was added. Dulles still deals with most of the region's international flights. Air Jamaica and British Airways have used BWI for many years. AerLingus, Air Aruba, Air Greenland, El Al, Ghana Airways, Icelandair, KLM, Ladeco, and Mexicana have used BWI in the past. Military flights by the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command still use BWI.

Beginning in the 1980s and for much of the 1990s, BWI was a major hub for Piedmont Airlines and US Airways. Financial problems because of the dot-com bust, the September 11 attacks, and competition which lowered ticket prices caused them to be less active at the airport. Southwest Airlines' began using the airport in September 1993. Southwest is now the airport's largest carrier. It had 56.76% of the passengers carried in 2008. Southwest recently bought AirTran. Because of this, Southwest Holdings now has an average of 214 departures each day. BWI is now Southwest's 3th largest destination. BWI has International flights to London, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean and domestic flights throughout the United States.

Airlines and destinations

Passenger airlines

Cargo airlines

Destinations with direct service from BWI
Baggage claim 2
Baggage claim area at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport.
  • ABX Air
  • FedEx Express
  • FedEx Feeder operated by Mountain Air Cargo
  • UPS Airlines
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