Airport passenger traffic rises, thanks in part to Southwest

February 03, 1994|By David Conn | David Conn,Md. Aviation AdministrationSun Staff Writer

Southwest Airlines, the company that made Cleveland a household name in Baltimore, also helped make 1993 a banner year for the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Passenger traffic at the airport climbed 6.7 percent last year to 9.4 million people, the first net gain since 1989. It was inspired in part by the arrival in September of the Dallas-based Southwest, which began offering dirt cheap rates to cities such as Cleveland and Chicago, as low as $19 round-trip.

"We're guilty," said Southwest spokeswoman Ginger Hardage. "We brought affordable airfare, which had been lacking at Baltimore-Washington International Airport."

The year started off with three months of declining passenger traffic at BWI, and then a summer of slight gains and losses. But in September, traffic picked up 13.6 percent, followed by consistent 30 percent-plus increases for the rest of the year.

Nationally, U.S. airlines reported only a 1.4 percent rise in passenger traffic last year, according to the Air Transport Association.

Southwest's entry spurred rate cuts by other major carriers at BWI, including USAir and Continental.

The state transportation department also reported double-digit passenger increases during the fourth quarter at America West, United and TWA.

The increased flying volume also led to higher related business: an 8 percent gain in annual parking revenues; a 16.6 percent increase in concession revenues and a whopping 81 percent rise in shuttle traffic from the airport to the BWI Rail Station.

BWI passengers

Monthly passenger totals for 1993 and percentage change from 1992.

Month .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Number .. .. .. .. .. .. ..%ch

January .. .. .. .. .. ..622,255 .. .. .. .. .. .. .-9.4

February .. .. .. .. .. .600,867 .. .. .. .. .. .. .-6.7

March .. .. .. .. .. .. .716,366 .. .. .. .. .. .. .-6.9

April .. .. .. .. .. .. .766,827 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..2.1

May .. .. .. .. .. .. ...774,158 .. .. .. .. .. .. ..4.8

June .. .. .. .. .. .. ..788,313 .. .. .. .. .. .. .-4.8

July .. .. .. .. .. .. ..816,656 .. .. .. .. .. .. .-1.4

August .. .. .. .. .. ...841,847 .. .. .. .. .. .. .-1.7

September .. .. .. .. ...806,952 .. .. .. .. .. .. .13.6

October .. .. .. .. .. ..949,937 .. .. .. .. .. .. .36.7

November .. .. .. .. .. .894,672 .. .. .. .. .. .. .30.8

December .. .. .. .. .. .859,879 .. .. .. .. .. .. .31.5

Total .. .. .. .. .. ...9,438,729 .. .. .. .. .. .. .6.7

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