LINTHICUM, MD. -- Baltimore-Washington International Airport posted its sixth consecutive year of passenger traffic gains in 1987, recording a 5.5 percent increase over the previous year, officials say.

The suburban Baltimore airport handled 9.2 million passengers in 1987 and 252 million pounds of freight. The freight total represented a 5.6 percent increase over 1986 totals, said State Aviation Administrator Ted Mathison. Mathison said last week that 1987 was "definitely a year of progress."

"Progress is reflected in traffic numbers, as well as increased service to key domestic and international cities and new nonstop markets," Mathison said.

Mathison cited examples of America West, which started service at BWI in 1987, and Northwest Airlines' new links to several of its hub cities. In addition, he noted last year's beginning of Trans World Airlines' service to London and Frankfurt from BWI.

The administration is "making progress in addressing the noise issue for those airport neighbors affected by aircraft noise," Mathison said.

He said the SAA initiated pilot programs in 1987 for soundproofing and resale assurance for home owners in the "noise zone." He also said the administration continued a voluntary land acquisition program for residents most affected by noise.

Mathison said major projects for 1988 include construction of an additional air cargo facility, and the design for a new 2,700-space parking garage.