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BWI Proposing New Hotel Within Walking Distance

LINTHICUM, Md.  (WJZ) -- BWI continues to be one of the best performing airports in the country.

And now, as Mike Schuh reports, the plan is to welcome overnight travelers closer to the planes.

The number of passengers at the airport is soaring.  There were approximately 22 million passengers in 2012, which is the third straight record year for BWI.

"BWI has grown tremendously in recent years and decades, and we expect additional growth in coming years," Jonathan Dean, BWI spokesman, said.

The growth is allowed for by constant rebuilding.

For passengers, the only part of Friendship Airport left is the general path of the road bordering the terminal. All of the original buildings from the propeller age are gone.

To stay fresh, even buildings from the jet age are being taken apart, rebuilt or being added to.

"We are in the midst of a major terminal enhancement plan that will add new features and amenities for our customers," Dean said.

It's all being done to make passengers and airlines happy.

Overall, there is $200 million in improvements completed or to be built.

"When does it end? Hopefully never, if airports are doing things right, they are always working to expand and improve their facilities for their airlines and their partners," Dean said.

Along the way, BWI realized it had fallen behind other airports.

Its modest hotel was obsolete. Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia all have airport hotels within walking distance.

A 250-room hotel centrally located right in between all the gates is being proposed. It is to be built on the old Short Term lot, now being used by airport employees.

"We think it's something customers want," Dean said.

The first step is an environmental study.  Any opening of a hotel will be years away.

The Airport Authority says it's too soon to say who will own or operate the new hotel or how it will be financed.

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