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Spirit Airlines to begin service from BWI

Saturday - 9/8/2012, 2:59am  ET

LINTHICUM, Md. - Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is welcoming Spirit Airlines as its newest carrier.

Spirit ended a nine-year relationship with Reagan National, which previously played host to the airline.

A Spirit official says BWI provides more available gate space. This will give the airline more scheduling flexiblity and will allow it to add nonstop flights to more cities, relieving the airline's frustration with their inability to grow at Reagan National. Fares at BWI are also generally lower.

The new carrier comes on the heels of the busiest month in the airport's history. More than 2.2 million passengers flew through BWI in July, eclipsing the previous mark set in July 2011.

Spirit will begin direct service from BWI to Dallas-Fort Worth and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday. The airport will welcome the first arriving Spirit flight with a "water salute," a traditional greeting for new carriers in which fire engines spray water over the arriving aircraft.

Spirit is a discount airline based in Miramar, Fla. It's known for offering low base fares and charging fees for bringing luggage or using other services.

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