[photo, Terminal Building entrance, BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport, Maryland]
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  • Throughout Maryland are 33 public-use airports. The State of Maryland owns and operates two airports: Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Martin State Airport. Both are run by the Maryland Aviation Administration, an agency of the Department of Transportation.

    Terminal Building entrance, BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport, Maryland, September 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    Maryland's aviation history dates to the 18th century, when possibly the first recorded manned flight occurred over Baltimore in a balloon in 1784. Not until the 20th century, however, did Maryland pass its Uniform State Law for Aeronautics until 1927 (Chapter 637, Acts of 1927). Two years later, it established the State Aviation Commission (Chapter 318, Acts of 1929). The Commission licensed aviators and airships, set air traffic rules, regulated the construction and operation of airfields, and otherwise conformed to federal regulations. In 1970, the Commission was reorganized as an administration and made part of the newly formed Department of Transportation. In 1972, the State Aviation Administration took over operation of Friendship International Airport (now BWI Thurgood Marshall) after its purchase by the State. At that time, the number of Administration employees rose from three to over two hundred. The Administration was renamed the Maryland Aviation Administration in 1989.


    Ranked as the region's busiest airport, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is one of the fastest growing large airports in the United States. Just south of Baltimore City, the Airport lies on nearly 3,600 acres in northern Anne Arundel County.

    As of 2017, BWI brought in over $9.3 billion in business revenue and some $592 million in taxes to the State, as well as $4.1 billion in wages to the 106,488 regional workers supported by the airport.

    Airlines. Thirty-six airlines (including commuter, charter & cargo airlines) serve BWI with 660 commercial daily flights passing through its 5 concourses, 73 jet gates, and 2 commuter gates. As of Dec. 31, 2021, BWI offers more than 320 daily nonstop flights to over 81 domestic and international destinations. Also as of Dec. 31, 2021, there were 9 airlines providing service to international destinations at BWI.

    In FY2020, there were some 224,257 aircraft operations handled at BWI.

    Passengers. As of January 2018, BWI broke monthly passenger records 29 times over the previous two and a half years.

    In 2021, some 18,868,429 passengers passed through BWI, an average of 51,694 daily.

    In 2018, more than 27.15 million passengers flew through BWI, with an average of 74,372 per day, an all-time record high. In 2016, over 1.23 million international passengers passed through BWI, the second year that the Airport had passed the million per year milestone.

    Cargo. Five cargo airlines operate out of BWI's 395,000-square-foot Air Cargo Center. Cargo shipped from BWI includes aircraft parts, chemical products, machinery and parts, mail, pharmaceuticals, and seafood. In 2021, the Airport handled a record 618.8 million pounds of cargo (mail & freight).

    In February 2022, Airports Council International honored BWI with a Voice of the Customer recognition.

    In 2021, BWI was ranked top North American airport in its size in the Airports Council International ASQ Awards, which recognizes customer service as measured by passengers. Also, in June 2021, BWI received the Global Biorisk Advisory Council's STAR accreditation, which recognizes clean and safe public facilities.

    In October 2018, BWI ranked tenth on Condé Nast Traveler's Best Airports in the U.S.: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards due to its access to transit, amenities for passengers, and efficiency.

    In 2014, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ranked BWI first for healthful meal options, with over 90% of restaurants offering at least one healthy meal option.

    In 2009, the Airports Council International ranked BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport first for airport service quality among airports around the world that served 15 to 25 million passengers annually.

    Providing a 24-hour U.S. Customs operation, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is designated an official port of entry by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In 1997, the Airport also was designated as a European gateway for the U.S. Air Force's Air Mobility Command. In addition, the Airport has a foreign trade zone in the Air Cargo Center. With scheduled refrigerated trucking to major destinations in the Baltimore-Washington region, the Airport offers on site a 24-hour cold storage facility.

    To expand and enhance service and beautify Airport facilities, a multi-million dollar construction program began in 1994 and continues. Some 3,400 public parking spaces were added to satellite lots, and a new daily parking garage opened in 2002. Since completion in 2003, the garage offers 8,400 parking spaces with a "Smart Park" vehicle guidance system to help travelers find an open parking space. As of 2016, there are 31,300 parking spaces available at BWI, including those in the holiday and overflow lots and the rail station. A 10,500-foot runway now better accommodates long-haul traffic.

    Opened in 1997, an international pier, called the Governor William Donald Schaefer International Terminal, includes the Maryland Central Light Rail Line on its lower level (Chapter 702, Acts of 1994; Code Transportation Article, sec. 5-413). Amtrak and MARC passengers may park in a five-level parking garage.

    [photo, Martin State Airport, 701 Wilson Point Road, Middle River, Maryland]


    One of the largest general aviation facilities on the East Coast, Martin State Airport is in southeastern Baltimore County. The Airport handles primarily private and corporate aircraft. Yet, it is the headquarters of the Aviation Division (MED-EVAC) of the Department of State Police; the Helicopter Unit of the Baltimore City Police; and the Aviation and Marine Units of the Baltimore County Police. Martin State also provides aircraft repair and avionics facilities on site, conducts flight schools, and hosts the Glenn L. Martin Aviation Museum.

    Martin State Airport Control Tower, 701 Wilson Point Road, Middle River, Maryland, October 2016. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.

    The 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard is stationed at the Airport in the Warfield Air National Guard Base.

    Martin State Airport began in 1929 as an airplane production facility built by Glenn L. Martin, an aviation designer and constructor. Before and during World War II, the Glen L. Martin Aircraft Company produced the B-10 and B-26 bombers, the China Clipper, and the Martin Mars planes at the facility. Runways also were added during the War period.

    In 1961, the Martin Company merged with the American Marietta Corporation to form the Martin Marietta Corporation. The State of Maryland purchased 747 acres of the Airport in 1975 from the Martin Marietta Corporation.

    Flights arriving at Martin State Airport from international locations began to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2016.

    In FY2020, the Airport generated nearly $9.3 million in revenues and handled 75,104 aircraft operations.

    In FY2019, Martin was the base for more than 275 aircraft.

    In 2017, Martin brought in $297 million in business revenues and $41.9 million in taxes, besides supporting 2,400 jobs.

    [photo, U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Martin State Airport, 701 Wilson Point Road, Baltimore, Maryland] In 2012 and 2014, Martin State Airport hosted the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, when they took part in the celebrations commemorating Baltimore's role in the War of 1812. In October 2016, Martin also hosted the Blue Angels for Maryland's inaugural Fleet Week celebrations in Baltimore. During Fleet Week in October 2018, Martin hosted the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and will host them again September 10-11, 2022.

    U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, Martin State Airport, 701 Wilson Point Road, Baltimore, Maryland, October 2018. Photo by Sarah A. Hanks.


    County airports listed are those that either are maintained or operated by county government.

    [photo, Passenger plane, Easton Airport, 29137 Newnam Road, Easton, Maryland]
  • Easton Airport [Newnam Field], Talbot County
  • Garrett County Airport, Garrett County
  • Hagerstown Regional Airport [Richard A. Henson Field], Washington County
  • St. Mary's County Regional Airport, St. Mary's County
  • Tipton Airport, Anne Arundel County

  • Passenger plane, Easton Airport, 29137 Newnam Road, Easton, Maryland, May 2017. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    Municipal airports listed are those that either are maintained or operated by municipal government.


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