1.4 million travelers set a record at BWI July total surpassed July 1997 by 12.2%

Air travel

September 01, 1998|By June Arney | June Arney,SUN STAFF

Baltimore - Washington International Airport served more than 1.4 million travelers in July, setting a one-month passenger record while exceeding service of July 1997 by 12.2 percent.

The largest percentage increase in commercial passengers occurred among international travelers, whose numbers rose to 74,563, an increase of 19.4 percent over the previous July. Domestic passengers numbered 1,345,426 -- an increase of 11.8 percent over July 1997, according to numbers just released.

Airport officials attribute the higher volume to more flights, new destinations and a good economy.

"We keep continuing to break monthly records," said Karen Black, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Aviation Administration, which owns and operates BWI. "Our air service continues to develop."

Part of the increase in international passenger numbers comes from charter flights provided to the Air Force through the Air Mobility Command, Black said. That operation, which transports Air Force families to European destinations, moved from Philadelphia to Baltimore in October. It became fully operational Feb. 1, she said.

An estimated 180,000 passengers are expected to travel annually through the Baltimore location of the Air Mobility Command, which serves as the northeastern gateway to Europe, Black said.

Higher numbers of international travelers also reflect the increased capacity and other benefits of BWI's new international terminal that opened in December, officials said.

"The goal was 1 million passengers by the year 2000," Black said. "We expect to reach 800,000 international passengers this year, so we're encouraged."

Several carriers at BWI saw double-digit passenger growth. America West took the lead with a passenger increase of 89.7 percent, followed by Southwest with 37.2 percent, Northwest with 35.7 percent and United with 22.2 percent.

Freight through BWI rose 22.8 percent to 35.6 million pounds.

Pub Date: 9/01/98

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