Southwest Coming to Reagan National

Whiles its local service is concentrated at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Southwest Airlines has become more of a presence at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo by Stephen M. Keller/Southwest Airlines)

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

It outperformed the other two major airports in the Washington region, but Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport still ended 2020 well down from pre-COVID passenger levels.

The Maryland state government, which operates the facility, reported a year-end total of 11,204,511 passengers at BWI. That’s down 58.5 percent from the 26,993,896 of 2019, a decline due to the COVID pandemic that crippled air travel beginning in March.

The airport’s main tenant, Southwest Airlines, reported 7,732,156 passengers for the year, a down 55.7 percent from 2019 but still representing a 69-percent market share at the airport. Also posting significant year-over-year declines were Spirit Airlines, which had an 11-percent total market share at BWI for 2020, as did American Airlines (market share of 7 percent), Delta Air Lines (6 percent) and United Airlines (3 percent).

International passenger totals nose-dived 88.2 percent to just 42,250 for the year. British Airways is the primary international carrier serving the airport, but has not operated flights there since mid-March.

If there was any silver lining in an awful year, it came in cargo, which was up 19 percent year-over-year to a new record of 595 million pounds.

For the month of December, a total of 912,114 passengers traveled through BWI, down just under 62 percent from a year before.

Because of its emphasis on domestic leisure travel, which did not take as much of a COVID hit as business travel or international travel, BWI’s passenger decline was not as steep as those reported at Northern Virginia’s two major airports.

For the year as a whole, 7.6 million passengers traveled through Reagan National and 8.3 million through Dulles, representing declines of 68.4 percent and 66.4 percent, respectively.

For December, traffic at Dulles totaled about 700,000, off 65.7 percent from a year ago, while the 400,000 travelers moving through Reagan National represented a year-over-year plunge of 80.2 percent, according to figures from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

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