Restrictions on Reagan, Dulles boost aviation business at BWI

September 30, 2001|By Ted Shelsby

One might think that a company in the business of private and corporate aviation would have little business to speak of after two weeks of airport closures and frightened fliers. But Signature Flight Support, which services general aviation at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, reports just the opposite.

At a time when major airlines are laying off thousands of workers, Signature's 40 employees at BWI are scampering to meet increased demand. They serve about 35 flights a day.

"It's a different story at Baltimore than at a lot of other airports we serve around the country," said Steve Lee, the Florida company's senior vice president of marketing and business development. "While most others are struggling to weather the storm, business in Baltimore is booming."

Signature's BWI operation has become a major regional destination since Reagan National Airport in Washington remains shut down and Dulles International is closed to corporate aircraft and small planes.

"Baltimore is an alternative to traffic that would normally go to Dulles or Reagan airports," Lee said. "It is attracting a lot of business."

Signature, a subsidiary of British conglomerate BBA Group PLC, provides business and commercial aviation services at 43 airports. The company fuels the planes, provides parking and hangars, manages waiting rooms for passengers and arranges catered meals.

"I can't give you a dollar figure," Lee said, "but business at Baltimore is probably up 10 percent."

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