Southwest, State of MD partner on new maintenance hub for carrier

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Southwest Airlines plans to construct and operate a major aircraft maintenance facility at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

BWI is a hub/focus city for Southwest and attracts Delaware business and leisure travelers with a large number of flights and fares that charge no luggage charges or change fees.

It will be the airline’s first maintenance facility in the Northeast. The project is expected to create 450 construction and maintenance jobs over the next three years, supporting hundreds of additional maintenance jobs over the next two decades.

The proposed airline maintenance facility would include an approximately 130,000 square-foot maintenance hangar, aircraft parking apron, and office space.

The facility could accommodate three aircraft, and the exterior apron space could support up to eight aircraft.

Pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the preliminary schedule calls for construction to begin in 2019, with a scheduled completion in late 2021.

The total cost of the Southwest Maintenance Facility is $130 million, with $80 million from Southwest to build the maintenance facility and $50 million from MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration to build infrastructure improvements such as utility work and site preparation.

“We continue to appreciate the great relationship with the state of Maryland and the Maryland Aviation Administration, and we thank them for the support over the past 25 years,” said Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly. “This facility will be Southwest’s first Maintenance Hangar in the Northeast and will support our more than 120 Technical Operations Employees with performing existing line maintenance work at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.”

Southwest Airlines started service at BWI Marshall 25 years ago this month. The airline accounts for about 69 percent of the airport’s passenger traffic.

BWI is the second-busiest overall in the Southwest system. According to the airline, more than 4,800 Southwest employees are based at the airport. Prior to Southwest entering the market, BWI had struggled with its presence in the market as a minor hub for USAirways, now American.

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