A $105 million renovation project at BWI Marshall Airport that officially opened Tuesday features a larger upgraded security checkpoint, more shops and restaurants, a children's play area, a gym, an art gallery and even an outdoor observation deck.
The yearlong project connects the D and E concourses, allowing domestic and international passengers and flights at both — part of a long-term master plan to connect all five of the airport's concourses.
Gov. Larry Hogan, first lady Yumi Hogan, Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and BWI Airport CEO Ricky Smith cut the ribbon Tuesday on the new security checkpoint at an event attended by more than 200 people.
The D/E Connector "improves and modernizes BWI Marshall for our customers and provides new opportunities for expanded international service," Hogan said. "This work also sets the stage for even more future development here at BWI."
The eight-lane security checkpoint can serve both domestic and international travelers, replacing the airport's oldest and slowest security line — "a major upgrade in offering an improved travel experience for our passengers," the governor said.
Smith noted that the D/E Connector debuted the week before Thanksgiving, which is always among the airport's busiest.
"We could not get this facility open at a better time," he said.
The first lady, an art professor, chaired a committee that selected 28 pieces of art out of 580 that were offered for the airport by artists in Maryland and Washington.
Yumi Hogan said the group wore hard hats to scope out the renovation even before it was finished.
Almost everyone who flies has experienced a screaming child on their flight, Rahn said, as he announced the new "Airplay Zone," a children's playroom near the D concourse.
"We will be encouraging all parents with small children to wear them out before the plane," he said.