Relief package approved for BWI Marshall Airport concessions

The rent relief and lease extensions for restaurants and retailers is set to kick-start economic recovery

Measures to provide financial relief to support food and retail at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) were approved yesterday (Feb 24) by the Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW).

The aid package follows the assistance granted to the airport in April 2020 to help relieve the impact of the pandemic.

Both rent relief and lease extensions that are incorporated in the new plan which will help support restaurants and retailers as they begin to recover from the economic hit caused by coronavirus. The BPW also expanded the programme and went on to approve a fixed rent relief package for rental car companies at BWI.

BWI Airport
Photo BWI Marshall Airport

BWI Marshall and Fraport Maryland – the airport’s concessions developer – provided rent relief to the food and retail subsidiaries from April of last year until December. The new scheme will provide these concessions with financial aid until June.

“These emergency relief measures will help provide stability for our airport partners. As Maryland’s economy rebounds from the effects of COVID-19, our concessions and their valuable employees will be crucial to providing the services air travellers need,” said Greg Slater, Maryland transportation secretary.

Overall, the 15 months of waived fixed rent includes approximately $16.4m (£11.5m) in relief. A tiered rent structure will be implemented in July of this year and will run until the end of the contract.

Ricky Smith, executive director of BWI Marshall, added: “We are acting to save jobs, protect small businesses and ensure a strong level of service for our passengers.”

BPW’s scheme means that its agreement with Fraport Maryland has been extended for another year, until March 31, 2023. The subleases issued between Fraport and other food retail operators will also receive a two-year extension incorporated in their contract supplement.

These extensions grant subtenants with much needed additional time to financially recover.

Included in the airport’s concessions programme are around 120 locations and 192,000sq ft of leased space. Approximately 57% of BWI Marshall’s concessions are in operation. In the spring of 2020, only 20% of all food and retail outlets were open to travellers – with total concessions sales falling by 61% last year, compared with 2019.

Serving around 27 million customers back in 2019, the airport’s passenger traffic declined by 96% in April of last year compared to figures from the year before. Passenger traffic still remains low at around 60% compared to pre-pandemic numbers.