KLM to end service at BWI in mid-May

February 20, 1993|By Ross Hetrick and Suzanne Wooton | Ross Hetrick and Suzanne Wooton,Staff Writers

An article Saturday about KLM Royal Dutch Airlines leaving Baltimore-Washington International Airport for Dulles International Airport reported incorrectly the number of airlines still providing international service from BWI. Nine airlines and three chartered carriers continue international flights from BWI.

The Sun regrets the errors.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines announced yesterday that it will leave the Baltimore-Washington International Airport in mid-May and, instead, begin offering flights from Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.

Besides the loss of three non-stop flights each week to Amsterdam, the move further diminishes the status of BWI as an international gateway. Only two international services remain -- a daily flight to London by USAir and three flights a week to Iceland on Icelandair.


The decision to move from BWI was "market driven" because the airline expects Dulles to attract more passengers in the future than BWI, according to Odette Fodor, a spokeswoman for KLM in New York. "We are expanding and realigning our routes," she said.

The move by KLM, announced late yesterday in a one-sentence statement, had been expected for several months and was a primary reason the state postponed plans to build a $120 million international terminal at BWI.

"Basically, we're putting it off,"Secretary of Transportation O. James Lighthizer said earlier this week. "It could be one, two, three years. Who knows?"

International traffic has long been considered a key growth area for BWI and other airports as the airline industry becomes an increasingly global business.

Between 1989 and 1991, international traffic at BWI grew 77 percent, or by nearly 200,000 passengers, while domestic business remained flat. State transportation officials argued that BWI's international facilities should be enlarged.

But 1992 figures released Tuesday showed that international traffic declined by 45,000 passengers, or 6 percent, last year, and the number of domestic travelers fell by 1 million, the largest drop at BWI in more than a decade.

In January, the U.S. Transportation Department gave final approval for KLM and Northwest Airlines to integrate their services and operate as a single carrier. An open-skies agreement between the two countries gives KLM the right to fly to any point in the United States.

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