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July busiest month ever at BWI Airport

July was the busiest month ever for Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport with 2.2 million commercial passengers, according to figures released Tuesday by the airport.

Passenger traffic increased 1.6 percent during the record-setting month over the previous mark, set in July 2010.

Much of that growth was driven by Southwest Airlines Co., the dominant carrier at BWI. Southwest flew 195 daily flights and served 1.2 million passengers out of BWI in July, a 3.5 percent increase over a year prior and a monthly record for the airline.

Speaking at a Greater Baltimore Committee event Monday, Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley said the state expects Southwest’s growth to continue as it completes its takeover of AirTran Airways.

The carriers are expected to start flying under a single name next year.

And the secretary said that British Airways, which flies state-subsidized service to London, is “eagerly anticipating” the opening of the Inter-County Connector, which airport officials hope will open up markets full of well-heeled travelers in Montgomery County.

According to the airport, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, US Airways and American Airlines also posted growth in July. Cargo shipments increased 1.5 percent to 19.5 million pounds.

“BWI Marshall is a critical economic engine and international gateway for Maryland and the entire National Capital region,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “The airport’s strength and record-setting growth are important for our efforts to attract businesses, tourists and jobs.”

Passenger traffic has grown at BWI for 17 straight months and 25 of the last 26. For the 12 months ending in July, BWI served 22.5 million passengers, a record for any 12-month period and a 5.2 increase over the 12 months before.