The aerial evolution of BWI
On June 24th, 1950, President Harry S. Truman dedicated Baltimore's brand-new "Friendship International Airport."
In today's blog post, we feature a series of aerial images showcasing the spectacular growth of the passenger terminal at, what is nowadays called Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.
An aerial view of "Friendship Airport" around the time of opening in 1950. Scheduled airline service began one month after opening. At the time, the airport was viewed as the most advanced in the United States.
An aerial view taken in the late 1960s. By this time, the original terminal had been expanded in both directions and two new concourses had been added. The pier to the left of the image--Pier C--was operated by United; Pier B in the middle by Eastern, Piedmont and Allegheny Airlines; and Pier A to the right by all other airlines.
An early 1970s close up view of Pier B looking southeast.
A 1985 aerial. By this time the terminal radically altered its appearance. In the late 1970s a major renovation of the terminal complex was completed. The project doubled the size of the terminal to 635,000 square feet (59,000 square meters). The number of gate positions increased from 20 to 27. By 1983, Pier D (right of image) had been expanded from seven to 19 gates to meet Piedmont's hub operation needs.
A mid-1980s close-up of the Piedmont hub. In 1989, the carrier merged into USAir.
A 1991 aerial view. A new four-level parking garage, located in the front of the main terminal is being completed. A few years prior, the terminal had been expanded with a new commuter terminal and expansion of Pier D to handle the growth of the USAir/Piedmont hub operation.
In 1997, the Governor William Donald Schaefer International Terminal (foreground) opens. The $140-million project features light rail service on the lower level. Total passenger traffic at BWI reaches more than 14 million, a new record for the fourth consecutive year.
In 2005, the new Terminal A/B facility was officially dedicated at BWI Marshall Airport. The 510,000-square-foot facility provides 11 new gates for Southwest Airlines, which connect to 15 current gates on Concourse B; thus creating a compact 26-gate concourse facility.
A magnificent evening aerial view of the BWI terminal complex taken in 2008. During this year, the airport handled over 21 million passengers.
We close with this 2016 aerial. Since then, the airport has expanded even further. We are currently working on a full feature on the history of BWI, which will include the latest extensions. Make sure you sign up for our newsletter below to know when it goes online!
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One way the 1979-completed rebuilding of BWI helped the airport's future development was the vast landside building it produced. The building even visually dominated its small concourses.
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With a title inspired by the setting of the iconic 70s film "Airport", this blog is the ultimate destination for airport history fans.
Marnix (Max) Groot Founder of AirportHistory.org. Max is an airport development expert and historian.