Southwest Airlines chairman and CEO Gary Kelly joined Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and state transportation leaders to announce plans for the airline to construct and operate a major aircraft maintenance facility at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
The project—which will be the airline’s first maintenance facility in the Northeast—is expected to create 450 construction and maintenance jobs over the next three years, as well as support hundreds of additional jobs over the next two decades.
“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 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 BWI.”
The proposed facility would include a 130,000 sq. ft. maintenance hangar which would support three aircraft, as well as exterior apron space which would accommodate up to eight aircraft. Construction of the project, which is pending approval from the FAA, is expected to begin in 2019, with a scheduled completion in late 2021.
The total cost of the facility is $130 million, with Southwest contributing $80 million to build the maintenance facility and the MDOT Maryland Aviation Administration supplying $50 million for infrastructure improvements like utility work and preparation.
“We are proud to strongly support BWI and Southwest, and will continue to encourage the growth and success of this important partnership as we work hard to create the very best airport, highway system, port, transit and transportation infrastructure network in the nation,” said Hogan.
The announcement coincided with the 25th anniversary since Southwest started service at BWI. The airline is the busiest at the airport, flying nearly 18.2 million domestic and international passengers to or from BWI in calendar year 2017. According to to the airline, Southwest employees 4,837 employees at the airport.