The Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) unanimously approved financial relief measures to support food and retail concessions at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. The package expands assistance previously enacted by BWI Marshall in April 2020 to provide relief from COVID-19 impacts.

The rent relief and lease extensions approved will 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 Marshall.

Last April, BWI Marshall and its concessions developer, Fraport Maryland, provided fixed rent relief to the airport’s food and retail subtenants through December 2020. The recent BPW meeting was chaired by Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and also included members Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot.

The BPW vote provides additional relief to airport concessions through June 2021. The overall 15 months of waived fixed rent represents approximately $16.4 million in relief, easing the financial burden to concessions operators while allowing continued service to travelers. Beginning in July 2021, a tiered fixed rent structure will be in place until the end of the contract.

The BPW action also extends the 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. The sublease extensions will give concessions subtenants added time to recover financially from the pandemic’s economic impact.

The airport’s concessions program includes about 120 locations and 192,000 square feet of assigned leased space. Currently, about 57 percent of BWI Marshall’s concessions are operating. In spring 2020, only about 20% of shops and restaurants in the airport were open to serve travelers.  In 2020, total concessions sales fell by approximately 61% compared to 2019.

For rental car companies at BWI Marshall, the fixed rent relief package approved is retroactive from April 1, 2020 to Dec. 30, 2020. Beginning Jan. 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.

MDOT MAA applied Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding received last year to help offset these revenue losses.