Air Transport World

Location, Location, Location...

Washington, DC

Baltimore, MD

Looming 'battle of Baltimore' should cement BWI's image as center for low-fare airline service.

I real estate, they say the three most important things are "location, location and location. This, by the way, also is the case for airports, major real-estate items themselves. It certainly is true of Baltimore/ Washington International Airport.

In 1950, when Baltimore city leaders decided to develop their airport, they placed it just south of Baltimore and northeast of Washington, Friendship International, as they called it, was not known as a "Washington" airport in the early going. Washington National Airport was entrenched, with 70% of all the passenger traffic in the Baltimore/Washington region as late as the early 1980s. But the decision to place Friendship where it is has been a boon to the airport's more recent development.

Not until the city of Baltimore sold the airport to the state of Maryland for $35 million in 1972 did airport officials launch a major effort to develop the Washington connection. The name was changed to Baltimore/Washington International in 1974. Washington National was still the "big gorilla," according to Jay Hierholzer, associate administrator-marketing and development for BWI, which now is governed by the Maryland Aviation Admin.

Meanwhile, Dulles International had opened in 1962 as the Washington area's long-haul and international airport. BWI people like to point out that Dulles was the area's second international airport hut in any case, neither BWI nor Dulles was attracting much business in the 1970s. National was still the main airport for the entire region, despite the fact that it offered no international service and was limited by a perimeter rule from offering nonstop service to the western U. …

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