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Coronavirus relief for concessions at BWI Marshall Airport is approved by Maryland Board of Public Works

A state board expanded financial relief Wednesday for airport shops and restaurants that have lost business during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Maryland Board of Public Works unanimously approved a package of rent relief and lease extensions for tenants at BWI Marshall Airport through June. It expands on assistance the airport and concessions developer Fraport Maryland offered from April 2020 through December.

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The board, made up of Gov. Larry Hogan, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Treasurer Nancy Kopp, also approved a fixed rent relief package for rental car companies at the airport that’s retroactive from April 1 to Dec. 30, 2020.

“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,” Hogan said in an announcement.

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Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford represented Hogan and voted in his stead during Wednesday’s board meeting.

Just over half of the airport’s 120 shops and eateries are operating. Last year, total concessions sales fell by about 60%. During the early months of the pandemic, airport passenger traffic was down 96%, and it remains down about 60% compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Air travel is not expected to fully recover for two to four years, and tenants had asked for the state to intervene.

The overall 15 months of waived, fixed rent for concessions represents approximately $16.4 million in relief. A tiered, fixed rent will be put in place in July.

The board also extended the airport’s agreement with Fraport for an additional year, through March 31, 2023. Subleases between Fraport and tenants will be extended for two years to give businesses, which include small and minority owners, more time to recover financially from the economic crisis.

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