BWI Serves Record Number Of Passengers In 2011

LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ)– Passenger numbers are skyrocketing at BWI Marshall Airport.

Meghan McCorkell reports the busy summer travel season is breaking records.

The airport set monthly passenger records 13 out of the past 14 months and airport officials say they’re on track for their busiest year yet.

Ticket sales are taking off at BWI.  More passengers are boarding than ever before.

“BWI is the airport my wife and I pretty much always fly out of,” said Nicolas Atencio.

Atencio is taking his new baby to Buffalo to see his grandma.  With the new addition to the family, convenience is a big factor for him.

“For us, it’s either here, Dulles or Reagan National, and this is the easiest one for us,” Atencio said.

Many passengers are also looking for the lowest price.

“The average domestic fares out of BWI are below the national average and, in fact, among the lowest at any major airport,” said BWI spokesman Jonathan Dean.

Airport officials say that’s a major reason why more than two million passengers traveled through BWI in the month of June alone—an all-time high.

“BWI has seen steady, consistent growth for two years now,” Dean said.

During the first six months of 2011, nearly 11 million passengers flew out of the airport, up 5.3 percent from last year.  One of the big reasons for growth is Southwest Airlines, which offered 195 destinations a day last month.  Those direct flights are pulling in passengers.

“Southwest Airlines has been flying out of BWI going to Cleveland for a long time, and today I’m putting my minor niece on a flight to Cleveland.  It’s a direct flight; it’s less than an hour,” said Arlene Scott.

The cost and convenience are keeping passenger lines long, day in and day out.

Airport officials say they are on track to exceed 22.5 million passengers this year, another new record.

The last time BWI-Marshall didn’t break a monthly record was in February 2010, when two blizzards shut down the runways.

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