BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When it comes to popularity, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport has the competition beat, as BWI had more travelers in 2016 than any other nearby airport.

Airport officials say that’s not a coincidence.

Miles ahead of the competition, BWI airport flies into the top spot of busiest airports in the region.

“I love it here,” traveler Bruce Hoegg said. “It’s my favorite.”

The Federal Aviation Administration reports that in 2016, 25 million people flew in and out of BWI. That’s more travelers than both Dulles International and Reagan National.

Airport officials say low fares are driving a growing number of D.C.-area travelers to choose BWI over the two Virginia airports.

“I’ve been to one of the other airports…” traveler Greg Laham said.

BWI CEO Ricky Smith says there’s a reason for its sky high popularity.

In recent years, the Maryland-based airport has made major upgrades to its facility, adding restaurants and retail options.

“We want to make the airport a destination in itself,” Smith said.

To keep up with its growing popularity, BWI is building six new international gates, and plans to add additional flights.

“It’s just centrally located,” traveler Ginna Neufeld said.

A busy hub, where passengers and possibilities are soaring.

Last year was the first time BWI reached 25 million travelers. The CEO anticipates that 2017 will break that record.

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