New car-rental facility to open Monday at BWI

All eight firms at airport to be under single roof a short ride from terminal

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December 20, 2003|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

A new car-rental facility with spaces for 8,300 vehicles will open Monday at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, consolidating all eight rental companies at BWI in a single location a short ride west of the passenger terminal.

The facility is the latest step in a five-year, $1.8 billion expansion at BWI. The new facility will take the car rental firms' customer counters out of the airport terminal and their cars out of the nearby hourly parking garage and other places. The move is expected to relieve vehicle congestion near the terminal.

A shuttle bus will take travelers to their rentals from stops in front of the baggage claim area of the terminal.

The $134.8 million facility will offer covered areas outside for vehicle pickups and returns and space for maintenance. The 47,000-square-foot building will contain customer counters and offices for up to 10 companies as well as a lobby area with seating and restrooms.

"We must dedicate the time and resources to manage the current and projected growth of the airport," said Paul J. Wiedefeld, executive director of the Maryland Aviation Administration, which oversees the airport. "This is the next step in the improvement of BWI for the traveling public."

An official at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, one of the companies that had input on the new facility, said it will make the airport car-rental operation run more smoothly.

"The new rental facility represents years of joint effort by the Maryland Aviation Administration and rental groups uniting to provide customers optimal service," said Kevin Molitor, vice president and general manager of Enterprise in the Baltimore area.

"As the entire airport's rental companies move to the new facility, it will not only increase efficiency for travelers, but also decrease traffic on the roads surrounding the airport."

The other car-rental companies operating at BWI are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National and Thrifty.

Other changes under the improvement program include extra security checkpoints at the C and D concourses that were added in recent weeks and a daily garage with 3,000 spaces that opened last fall. By next spring the garage will provide 8,400 spaces. Signs to all of the parking lots and garages also have been replaced.

One of three planned skywalks from the hourly garage to the terminal has opened. A new concourse for Southwest Airlines also is under construction.

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