The Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) this week approved additional financial relief to support food and retail concessions at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
The new package expands on the assistance previously enacted by BWI and its concessions developer Fraport Maryland in April 2020 and includes rent relief and lease extensions to support airport restaurants and retailers as they recover from the economic crisis brought on by the global pandemic.
In a separate vote, the BPW also approved a fixed rent relief package for rental car companies at BWI.
“Our administration remains committed to helping the many local businesses, including airport restaurants and shops, that have been hit hard by the pandemic and its impact on travel,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in a press release announcing the package. “Last spring, BWI Marshall Airport took aggressive action to help its concessions partners, and with the approval of this package, we will provide further assistance to help these businesses survive as the air travel industry recovers.”
The BPW vote extends support to airport concessions through June 2021 and the overall 15 months of waived fixed rent represents approximately $16.4 million in relief.
The BPW action also extends the airport’s agreement with Fraport Maryland for an additional year, until March 31, 2023. Subleases between Fraport and the food and retail operators will receive a two-year extension as part of the contract supplement approved by the board, giving concessions subtenants added time to recover financially from the pandemic.
“Many of our airport concessions are small, minority-owned businesses that do not have the resources to withstand prolonged losses,” said Ricky Smith, BWI executive director. “We are acting to save jobs, protect small businesses and ensure a strong level of service for our passengers.”
The airport’s concessions include about 120 locations and 192,000 square feet of assigned leased space. Currently, about 57 percent of BWI Marshall’s concessions are operating. In 2020, total concessions sales fell by approximately 61 percent compared to 2019.
For BWI rental car companies, the fixed rent relief package approved today is retroactive from April 1, 2020 to December 30, 2020. Beginning January 1, 2021, until the end of the contract, the fixed rent is tiered. The total rent relief for rental car firms equates to about $13 million.