Pittsburgh International Airport: Wikis


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Pittsburgh International Airport
Pittsburgh International Airport aerial view.jpg
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Allegheny County Airport Authority
Serves Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Location Findlay Township, Pennsylvania
Elevation AMSL 1,204 ft / 367 m
Coordinates 40°29′29″N 080°13′58″W / 40.49139°N 80.23278°W / 40.49139; -80.23278
Website www.flypittsburgh.com
Direction Length Surface
ft m
10R/28L 11,500 3,505 Concrete
10L/28R 10,502 3,201 Asphalt/concrete
10C/28C 9,708 2,959 Asphalt/Concrete
14/32 8,101 2,469 Concrete
Number Length Surface
ft m
H1 60 18 Concrete
Statistics (2009)
Passengers 7,994,275
Aircraft operations (2008) 167,729
Metric tonnes of cargo (2008) 154,157 (2007)
Main airlines US Airways, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines
Sources: FAA,[1] Airport website.[2]

Pittsburgh International Airport (IATA: PITICAO: KPITFAA LID: PIT), formerly Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Greater Pittsburgh International Airport and commonly referred to as Pittsburgh International, is a joint civil–military international airport located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Findlay Township, approximately 20 miles (30 km) west of downtown Pittsburgh at Exit 53 of I-376 and the Northern Terminus of PA Turnpike 576 (Future I-576). It is owned and operated by the Allegheny County Airport Authority which also operates the Allegheny County Airport. PIT is primarily a passenger airport serving the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, providing 158 non-stop flights per day to 38 destinations with twelve airlines.[3] It also serves as the home of Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, a combined facility of the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard, providing aerial refueling, air mobility and tactical airlift support to the U.S. Air Force and other U.S. Department of Defense activities. Finally, the airport also has a robust air cargo facility and supports extensive general aviation operations.

PIT is the second busiest passenger airport in Pennsylvania and 47th-busiest in the United States,[4] serving 8,710,291 passengers in 2008 on 167,729 aircraft operations.[5] The airport has the longest runways of a commercial airport in Pennsylvania at 11,500 feet. Until 2004, US Airways operated its largest hub at PIT. As of 2008, the airline remains PIT's largest carrier (handling 33 percent[2] of passengers). Also, Trans World Airlines operated a hub at the old airport from the 1960s to 1985. Southwest Airlines began service at the airport in May 2005 and is currently the second largest airline in Pittsburgh with nonstop service to 7 destinations and more than 20 daily flights. The airline has numerous times indicated an interest in expanding at the airport[6], however Southwest has slowed all expansion due to the 2008-2009 economic slowdown and high airport costs. After the merger with Northwest Airlines was completed on January 1, 2010, Delta Air Lines surpassed Southwest Airlines as the airport's second largest carrier by daily departures, which averages 31 per day compared with Southwest's 22 flights per day. Even with all its recent cuts, US Airways will still remain the airport's dominant carrier by both passengers carried and daily departures, which currently averages just over 50 per day. US Airways currently utilizes ten gates, more than any other airline at PIT, followed by Delta which operates five gates.

The airport offers service to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and Europe. Nonstop transatlantic service resumed on June 3, 2009 when Delta Air Lines began flights to Paris.[7] The new service operates 5 days a week and was made possible by Delta's successful joint-venture with Air France.[8]

PIT occupies more than 12,900 acres (52 km2), making it the fourth-largest airport by land area owned in the nation[9], behind Denver International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Orlando International Airport[10]. It is so large that both Chicago's O'Hare and Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson could comfortably fit within the airport's land area.

PIT has been frequently recognized for its quality in meeting travelers' needs. OAG Worldwide listed the facility to its short list of the world's best airports for four consecutive years. The market research leader, JD Power and Associates named PIT among the top five airports in its two most recent customer satisfaction surveys. Conde Nast Traveler's Magazine named PIT the best in the United States[11] and third in the world in its 2000 People's Choice Award.



Yesterday's Airport of Tomorrow Display

Until the beginning of World War II, Moon Township, PA was mostly a rural agricultural area. It was too far from downtown Pittsburgh to be considered the "suburb" that it is today, although it was served solely by Pittsburgh, state, and federal services. In the early 1920s, John A. Bell of Carnegie purchased a number of small farms in Moon and established a major commercial dairy farm on his 1,900 acres (8 km2) of land. He was bought out by Mr. and Mrs. E.E. Rieck and C.F. Nettrour, owners of the established "Rieck's" Dairy, who doubled the number of cattle at the farm.

By 1940, the United States was becoming involved in World War II. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) identified that the Pittsburgh area needed a military airport to defend the industrial wealth of the area and to provide a training base and stop-over facility. The agricultural expanses of Moon Township were attractive to the early airport planners in the city. The WPA bought the Bell Farm and began construction of the runways.

In 1944, Allegheny County officials proposed to expand the military airport with the addition of a commercial passenger terminal in order to relieve the Allegheny County Airport, which was built in 1926 and whose capacity was quickly becoming insufficient to support the growing demand for air travel. Ground was broken on the new airport on July 18, 1946. The new terminal building would eventually cost $33 million to build and was built exclusively by Pittsburgh-area companies. The new airport, christened as Greater Pittsburgh Airport (renamed Greater Pittsburgh International Airport in 1972 upon the opening of the International Arrivals Building) opened on May 31, 1952. The first flight occurred on June 3, 1952. In its full year of operation in 1953, over 1.4 million passengers used the terminal. At that time, "Greater Pitt" was considered "modern" and spacious. In fact, the airport was the largest in the United States, second only to Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport) in New York when it was completed five years later. The airport's capacity is one of its most valuable assets.

original Compass floor, saved and relocated from original terminal

The airport was designed by a local architect named Joseph W. Hoover. One of the primary features of his style is the use of simple, exposed concrete, steel, and glass materials. The terminal building was constructed in "stepped" levels: the first floor extended farther than the second, the second floor extended farther than the third, etc. Such a design meant that the uncovered roof of the lower level could then be used as an observation deck. In addition to the observation desks, the rounded "Horizon Room" was designed on the fourth floor with a commanding view of the airport runways. The interior of the terminal building was designed in the International Style, as was the exterior. One of the most memorable features of the lobby was the large compass laid in the floor with the green and yellow-orange terrazzo. The lobby also included shops and services for travelers. A mobile by Alexander Calder was another decorative feature of the lobby. The mobile currently hangs in the center core of the new airside terminal, and a re-creation of the compass was installed in the new terminal at an exhibit dedicated to old "Greater Pitt."

The first five airlines of the Greater Pittsburgh Airport were TWA, Capital Airlines (later part of United), Northwest, All American (later Allegheny Airlines, then USAir, and finally US Airways), and Eastern Airlines.

In 1959, the east dock was added to the terminal as air travel became more popular. On July 25, 1959, TWA introduced the first scheduled commercial jet aircraft service (Boeing 707) to Pittsburgh. With the longer range of jet engines, international air travel was more practical. By 1969]], the airport sought to become an "international" airport. Ground was broken for the new International Wing, west of the original terminal building, on July 8, 1970. The International Wing opened in 1972 to accommodate federal inspection services and other requirements for international travel.

From the 1960s to about 1985, Trans World Airlines operated a hub out of PIT. Destinations included major and secondary US Cites, London and Frankfurt.

In 1972, rotundas were added to the end of each dock to further expand the number of gates at the terminal. In the later 1970s, significant growth in regional air travel created a need for additional gates at the terminal. In 1980, the South East Dock was opened. Even with all the expansions, the terminal could not meet the needs of modern air travel, and in 1987, with the financial backing of USAir (the most dominant carrier in Pittsburgh at the time), ground was broken on construction of a brand new terminal.

In 1985, the first Transatlantic flight service on an international airline came to Pittsburgh. British Airways started service in 1985 using Boeing 747-200 aircraft. The initial route flew from Pittsburgh to London-Heathrow with a stop in Philadelphia. The stop point was later changed to Washington. Later, British Airways moved the non-stop flight to London-Gatwick, with a change to London-Heathrow again with a stop in Montreal. The route remained a non-stop service to London-Gatwick. The airline ended service at the airport completely on October 31, 1999. In 2000, US Airways picked up the route to London-Gatwick but canceled it in 2004 due to extensive downsizing of the airport.

On October 1, 1992, the new Midfield Terminal opened and all operations transferred over from the old terminal overnight. (The old terminal remained standing for some years after, continuing to house a few operations offices; it was demolished in 1999.) The new terminal was equipped with numerous innovative, state-of-the-art features at the time, including an "AirMall" that featured shops for passengers to browse in, and "landside-airside" terminal construction which eliminated the need for connecting passengers to go through security again. The new terminal at Pittsburgh International became a model to other airports around the world, in which the design of the terminal was planned to simplify aircraft movement on the airfield and ease pedestrian traffic to the gates.

The airport became stagnant through the 1990s, with USAir (later US Airways) concentrating on expanding at Philadelphia and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. The downturn in the economy at the start of the 21st century, the September 11th attacks, and high operating costs at the airport put the US Airways hub in Pittsburgh at an economic disadvantage. The airline announced in 2004 that it would be substantially reducing its operations at Pittsburgh by shifting its primary hub to Philadelphia. A year later, the airline had only about 170 flights per day to and from Pittsburgh, in which most were domestic flights. At the height of US Airways operations at Pittsburgh peaked at 542 daily flights, including international flights to London, Paris, and Frankfurt.

On March 25, 2009 ground was broken on the new PIT International LogisticsCentre, an industrial park at the intersection of Business Route 60 and International Drive near the airport. Construction will begin in the fall of 2009. When finished, there will be nearly 900,000 square feet (83,613 m2) of "Class A Warehouse which will include distribution and air cargo space. It will bring much business opportunity to the southwestern PA area.[12]



Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 Pulling into the gate bound for Orlando, FL

The airport has seen greatly reduced traffic due to US Airways' cutbacks. The airport's operator, the Allegheny County Airport Authority, has attempted to attract new service to the airport--low-cost and international carriers in particular—in hopes of bringing more passengers, with some success. AirTran Airways, which initially had trouble competing in Pittsburgh after beginning service in 2000, was finally able to successfully expand Pittsburgh offerings after the US Airways' cuts. In 2003, USA3000 Airlines began service to Florida and has recently expanded to include international destinations in the Caribbean, mostly selling tickets through Apple Vacations. Southwest Airlines began service to Pittsburgh in May 2005 and broke US Airways's monopolies on Tampa, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, along with bringing more competition to the Chicago and Orlando markets. JetBlue Airways began service on June 30, 2006 with flights to Boston-Logan and New York-Kennedy, thus in turn breaking US Airways' monopoly on Boston and added more competition to the New York market. Myrtle Beach Direct Air began service in March 2007 and broke US Airways's monopoly on Myrtle Beach. This addition of new, mostly low-cost carriers has increased the airport's origin/destination traffic from 6.1 million in the late 1990s to 8.2 million in 2007, causing the airport to add additional parking.

PIT opened a new Military Comfort Center located at Gate A4 to serve traveling military and their families. The center began service on November 18, 2008.

USA3000 Airlines discontinued service to Pittsburgh International Airport on December 13. Under an agreement with Apple Vacations, flights will resume to Punta Cana and Cancun and will be operated as charter flights by AirTran Airways[13].

US Airways

Concourse A, formerly used as a hub for US Airways, has been partially walled off to help offset the loss of US Airways.

US Airways has a long history in Pittsburgh, having served the city since 1939[citation needed]. Its first brand, All American Aviation, started in 1939 and served the Ohio Valley. In 1949, All American Aviation became All American Airways when it started passenger service from its hub in Pittsburgh[citation needed]. 1953 saw All American Aviation renamed Allegheny Airlines[citation needed]. Allegheny was one of the first airlines at Greater Pittsburgh Airport when it opened. In 1979, US Air was formed[citation needed], with its hub at the airport. In 1996, when the airline became US Airways, it had about 515 daily departures from PIT making the airport its largest hub with flights to Europe and North America[14].

In 2000, US Airways and its regional partners boarded more than 8.6 million passengers at PIT alone.[2]

In 2003, US Airways approached Pittsburgh over the concern of operating fees. Since US Airways was the largest carrier at the airport, and the head of the airport's operation, they requested lower operated fees. PIT refused[citation needed], and US Airways threatened to move all major operations to Philadelphia and Charlotte, which they did. US cut many flights including all flights to Europe (London Gatwick, Frankfurt, and Paris-Charles de Gaulle), as well as many flights in North America. Its hub status was dropped in 2004. In 2007, US Airways discontinued service to Baltimore, Seattle, San Diego, Buffalo, and Altoona and reduced service to Albany, Erie, Newark, Indianapolis, New York's LaGuardia Airport, Chicago's O'Hare Airport, Philadelphia, Providence, Syracuse, and Toronto[15].

In January 2008, US Airways' steady decline from a prominent hub, to a secondary hub, to a focus city, saw its days numbered with the imposition of only 68 daily flights. On this day, it was a focus city no more and was christened a US Airways' destination. CEO Doug Parker stated "unfortunately our ability to operate profitably from Pittsburgh has been sharply eroded over the past few years and the hub lost more than $40 million over the past 12 months alone."[citation needed] Today US Airways operates only 10 gates on the B concourse. Concourses A & B, where the airline once controlled all 50 gates, have each been truncated (walled-off) with a total of 26 gates being closed. The gates were closed as part of a cost cutting strategy to offset US Airways' decline[16].

US Airways announced more flight cuts that took effect in early January 2009 as part of a reduction in capacity due to higher fuel costs. All Florida markets (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa)[17] as well as Indianapolis being eliminated from its Pittsburgh schedule. US Airways later discontinued service to Harrisburg and Richmond, Virginia and reduced Los Angeles and San Francisco to once daily. In early March 2009, the airline's three daily flights to Newark were also eliminated[18], leaving Continental as the only airline serving that route. These moves have left the airline with an average of 50 daily departures to only twelve destinations.[19] Furthermore, in March 2009, the airline carried only 28 percent of about 196,000 passengers, their lowest percentage ever at the airport.[20]

In April 2009, US Airways again announced more flight cuts, ending service to Los Angeles and San Francisco[21]. Two days before the route cancellation, United Airlines announced that they would be starting daily nonstop service to the two cities starting August 18[22]. US Airways even once served 767s on these routes when the airline had a hub there. Also in 2009, US Airways marked their 70th anniversary in Pittsburgh.

Former destinations

Airlines Destinations
US Airways[14] Akron-Canton, Albany, Albuquerque, Allentown, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Austin, Baltimore, Binghamton, Birmingham, Boston, Buffalo, Burlington, Cancun, Champaign, Charleston (WV), Chicago-Midway, Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Elmira, Erie, Evansville, Flint, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Wayne, Frankfurt, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Harrisburg, Hartford, Houston-Intercontinental, Huntington, Indianapolis, Ithaca, Jacksonville, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lansing, Lexington, London-Gatwick, Long Island, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Manchester (NH), Memphis, Mexico City, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Montego Bay, Montreal, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, New Orleans, New York-JFK, Newark, Newburgh, Newport News, Norfolk, Omaha, Orange County, Orlando, Ottawa, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Parkersburg, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester, Sacramento, Saginaw, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan (PR), Sarasota/Bradenton, Seattle-Tacoma, South Bend, Syracuse, Tampa, Toledo, Toronto-Pearson, Trenton (NY), Tri-Cities, Utica, Washington-Dulles, Washington-Reagan, West Palm Beach, White Plains, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre, Worcester
US Airways Express[14] Akron-Canton, Albany, Allentown, Altoona, Asheville, Atlanta, Baltimore, Bangor, Beckley, Binghamton, Birmingham, Bluefield, Bradford, Buffalo, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Champaign, Charleston (SC), Charleston (WV), Charlottesville, Chattanooga, Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati, Clarksburg, Cleveland, Columbia (SC), Columbus, Cumberland, Dayton, Detroit, DuBois, Elkins, Elmira, Erie, Evansville, Flint, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Grand Rapids, Greenbriar, Greensboro, Greenville, Hagerstown, Hamilton (ON), Harrisburg, Huntington, Indianapolis, Ithaca, Jamestown, Johnstown, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lancaster, Lansing, Latrobe, Lexington, Little Rock, London (ON), Louisville, Lynchburg, Madison, Manchester (NH), Memphis, Minneapolis-St.Paul, Montreal, Morgantown, Nashville, New Haven, Newark, Newburgh, Newport News, Norfolk, Omaha, Ottawa, Parkersburg, Phillipsburg, Portland (ME), Providence, Reading, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester, Saginaw, Savanna/Hilton Head, Shenandoah Valley, South Bend, State College, Syracuse, Toledo, Toronto, Trenton (NY), Tri-Cities, Utica, Washington-Dulles, Watertown, White Plains, Wilkes-Barre, Williamsport, Youngstown

Global Flight Operations Center

Since 1997, US Airways has maintained its OpsCenter in the metro Pittsburgh area. After the merger with AmericaWest the airline had two centers both with limited (pre-merger) capacity, the other being America West's inherited center near Phoenix. Pittsburgh International won a three way competition between Phoenix and Charlotte for the new combined airlines state of the art operations center.

In October 2007, US Airways announced that it had selected Pittsburgh as the site of its new 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) flight operations center, which will be the nerve center of the airline's 1,400 daily mainline flights[citation needed]. The $25 million, 72,000 square foot facility on a far corner of Airport property went "live" at 12:01 am (EST) on November 12, 2008 with the permanent sign off of the old Pittsburgh and Phoenix facilities. With its expanded staff of over 600 highly skilled specialists it coordinates all arrivals, departures and inflight services in the global US Airways system 24 hours a day, seven days per week.[23]

Future plans

Airport officials are now constructing a new baggage sorting facility on the grounds where the northern most arm of the old E gates was located. The arm was demolished early in 2007 to make room for the new North Matrix Baggage Sorting Facility, which went into operation during the Spring of 2009. The new facility will be used by US Airways. By adding the new facility, the current screening machines on the ticketing level near US Airways' ticket counter will not be needed. Everything will be screened "in- line" similar to the southern end of the ticketing level served by all the other airlines.

Destinations served from PIT, as of March 2010

ACAA considers expanding access to its automated baggage sorting system[24].

Dick's Sporting Goods announced that they will be relocating their headquarters to Findlay Township on airport grounds[25]. They have outgrown their current facility located just a few miles southeast of the airport near Robinson Town Centre[26]. The new complex will have a hangar and taxiway access for private aircraft.

The Pittsburgh International Airport will receive 10 million dollars in federal stimulus money that will be used to rehabilitate runway 14/32, one of four runways at Pittsburgh. This runway is critical for night time arrivals and is preferred for noise abatement procedures. The money will be used to rehab the pavement, make grading improvements and update the pavement markings. Airport signing and lighting will also be upgraded with the construction. ACAA started advertising for the job on June 24, 2009 and expect to have a contractor successfully picked by September 1, 2009. The airport estimated that 207 jobs would be created by the construction.[27]

On October 20, 2009 American Airlines announced the addition of new flights between Pittsburgh and Chicago-O'Hare, doubling the current number from three flights, up to six flights beginning in April 2010. The airline will begin to use only mainline aircraft on its Pittsburgh-Dallas/Fort Worth route.[28]

Gulfstream International Airlines announced that they would like to restore service from Pittsburgh to smaller cities within 400 miles. They want to bring back service lost by US Airways in their cutbacks. They intend to fly to six to eight cities by the end of 2010. The only two confirmed cities were Harrisburg and Du Bois. Other cities of interest include Columbus OH, Indianapolis IN, and smaller cities in Pennsylvania. In addition, the airport authority hopes to offer connecting service to other airlines from these new routes. Service is being planned to start in the first quarter of 2010.[29]

Passenger complex

The airport complex consists of two main buildings, the "Landside Terminal" and the "Airside Terminal."

Landside Terminal

Pittsburgh's Landside Terminal

The landside terminal is the building closest to the parking areas and the entry point for passengers whose flights originate from Pittsburgh. It includes ticketing, twelve claim areas (six belong to US Airways, although they currently utilize three[citation needed]), security checkpoints, and ground transportation such as taxi, limo, and rapid transit. There is a Hyatt Regency Hotel attached to the enclosed moving walkway. There are also shops in the landside terminal including Travelmart, Sue Venir, City of Bridges Cafe, and a baggage claim Travelmart. There are Travelers Aid desks on the transit and baggage claim levels as well as Airport Police Headquarters.

After passing through the security checkpoint, passengers board one of two underground people movers that travel to the airside terminal, where all departure gates are located. It was built and operated by Bombardier Transportation and is completely controlled by computer (there is no driver onboard).

The baggage claim is located on the bottom level of the Landside Terminal.


"Pittsburgh" mobile in center core

PIT offers on site parking operated by the Grant Oliver Corporation and patrolled by the Allegheny County Police. Grant Oliver offers usage of a GO FAST Pass account to pay for parking electronically at the airport. Go Fast Pass customers may register their E-Zpass transponders to use with the system, although billing and other aspects of the system are entirely handled by Grant Oliver.[30] There are regular parking shuttles to the Long Term and Extended lots[31] that can be accessed from the Baggage Claim level of the Landside Terminal outside doors six and eight.

There are three options for parking: Short Term, Long Term, and Extended. The Short Term garage is attached to the Landside Terminal via the enclosed moving walkway. There are 2,100 spaces available. The Long Term section also quick access to the enclosed moving walkway. There are 3,100 spaces available here. The Extended section does not have access to the enclosed moving walkway but does have regular parking shuttles that can be accessed from the Baggage Claim level of the Landside Terminal outside doors six and eight. There are 8,000 spaces available in the Extended lot.[31]

Airside Terminal

The airside terminal consists of 4 concourses (A, B, C, D) that hold the departure gates[2]. In the center core is the majority of the AirMall shops (there are over 100 shops including GAP, Swarovski, Brighton Collectibles, Brooks Brothers, Body Shop, Godiva, Sam Adams Brewery, Lids, Ben & Jerry's, PGA Tour Shop, GNC, Brookstone, Charley's Steakhouse and Rite Aid). On the mezzanine level are the US Airways Club and a chapel. There are also Carnegie Science Center and other historic sites Pittsburgh Aviation History Displays located throughout the airport.

Gate A5 (Southwest)

Concourse information

The airport has 100 gates on four concourses:

Concourse A

Concourse A has 25 gates: A1–A25, however only twelve gates are currently available for use: A1-A10, A12, & A14. The far end of the concourse has been closed off indefinitely. During the days of the US Airways hub, the airline utilized all 25 gates.

Beginning of Concourse B, April 2007
Concourse B

Concourse B has 25 gates: B26–B50, however only twelve gates are currently available for use: B26–B37. The far end of the concourse has been closed off indefinitely. Like Concourse A, US Airways had utilized all 25 gates during the days of its hub at the airport.

Concourse C
Gate C54 (AirTran), April 2007

Concourse C has twenty five gates: C51–C75. All international arrivals, except for cities with United States border preclearance, pass through Concourse C as customs and immigration is located on the lower level of the concourse. Gates C55, C57 and C59–C61 near the end of the concourse are designated to accommodate international traffic. Gate C61 includes a dual jetway to accommodate widebody aircraft, which was originally designed for US Airways' Airbus A330 and British Airways' Boeing 747. Currently, only Delta serve destinations without United States border preclearance.

Concourse D
Concourse D (April 2007)

Concourse D has twenty five gates: D76–D100.

Concourse E
Demolished arm of the E gates

Concourse E had 22 gates: E1–E22. Concourse E was a passenger terminal area connected to the airport's landside building and was formerly used for quick access to US Airways Express commuter aircraft. Following cuts in service by US Airways, all Concourse E gates have been closed to air traffic. A portion of the concourse has been demolished to make way for the new North Matrix baggage sorting facility for US Airways, while the remaining portion of the lounge area is used as an alternative security checkpoint. This additional checkpoint helps alleviate long lines at the airport's main airside checkpoint during peak travel times. Signs posted near the normal checkpoint indicate whether the additional checkpoint is in operation.

Airline lounges

US Airways has their US Airways Club on the mezzanine level of the airside terminal.[32] It is accessible by escalators in the center core area. Before a post-9/11 restructure of routes (effectively dehubbing Pittsburgh), US Airways had three clubs. The other two clubs were located on the upper levels of the A and B concourses. British Airways also had a lounge area in the C concourse during their transatlantic flight operations from Pittsburgh (1980s to late 1990s). Their lounge room is still there intact but now closed off.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations Concourse
Air Canada Jazz Toronto-Pearson C
AirTran Airways Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa C
AirTran Airways operated by SkyWest Airlines Milwaukee C
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth D
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth [ends April 5], Miami, New York-JFK D
Continental Airlines Houston-Intercontinental D
Continental Connection operated by CommutAir Cleveland D
Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark D
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit [resumes April 6], Minneapolis/St. Paul, Paris-Charles de Gaulle C/D
Delta Connection operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Atlanta D
Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky [resumes April 6] D
Delta Connection operated by Comair Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK D
Delta Connection operated by Mesaba Airlines Minneapolis/St. Paul [resumes April 6] D
Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle Airlines Atlanta, Detroit [ends April 5], Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul D
Direct Air operated by USA Jet Myrtle Beach D
JetBlue Airways Boston, New York-JFK C
Midwest Airlines operated by Chautauqua Airlines Milwaukee D
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Las Vegas, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Tampa A
United Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco C
United Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Washington-Dulles C
United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Washington-Dulles C
United Express operated by Shuttle America Chicago-O'Hare, Washington-Dulles C
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Chicago-O'Hare C
US Airways Charlotte, Las Vegas [ends May 8], Philadelphia, Phoenix B
US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin Boston, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-Reagan B
US Airways Express operated by Chautauqua Airlines Charlotte,New York-LaGuardia B
US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines Charlotte B
US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines Boston, Charlotte, New York-LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington-Reagan B
US Airways Express operated by Trans States Airlines Hartford/Springfield, Raleigh/Durham, St. Louis B
USA 3000 Airlines Cancun [seasonal; resumes September 2], Punta Cana [seasonal, resumes September 3] [33] C


FedEx Express Airbus A300 plane parked at Cargo gate

Pittsburgh boasts a rapidly growing freight business. A Free Trade zone of 5,000 acres, access to three class-one railroad freight lines, two interstate highways, and just a few miles from the nation's second largest inland port. With 30,000 acres in three industrial parks pad-ready for expansion, it already is home to over 200 land and air freight companies. [1] The airport's three largest cargo carriers account for over 100 million pounds (45 million kg) of freight per year.[34] Three cargo buildings provide more than 183,000 square feet (17,001 m2) of warehouse capacity and over 450,000 square feet (41,806 m2) of apron space.

LogisticsCentre, a master planned industrial park at the intersection of Business Route 60 and International Drive, is a 440-acre North Field site to contain 900,000 square feet of Class A warehouse, distribution and air cargo space. Current tenants include Dick's Sporting Goods new world headquarters. It is located within Foreign Trade Zone #33.

Currently, the ACAA is in talks with 10 different airlines and freight forwarders in hopes to create a link to China for freight and even passengers from the airport.

The following major cargo airlines have regular cargo service to and from PIT. Multiple destinations are served, the usual ones are noted:

Airlines Destinations
FedEx Express Columbus-Rickenbacker, Indianapolis, Memphis
FedEx Feeder operated by Wiggins Airways State College
UPS Airlines Louisville, Philadelphia

Free Trade Zone

Pittsburgh International has 5,000 acres designated as a Free Trade Zone including the airport's massive fuel farm.[2]

International Food Cargo Hub

The world's leading caterer for air and business, LSG SkyChefs in 2007 chose Pittsburgh as its sole Western Hemisphere manufacturing facility. It expanded its customer service center on the cargo side of the airport by 20,000 square feet and now employs just over 100 with the capacity of making nearly 25 million meals per year for distribution to flights all over the Americas. [3] cited by the company as its reason for choosing the Pittsburgh market was the regions strategic location by truck and air to major markets of both suppliers and customers as well as the ability of Pittsburgh excellent record in maintaining and expanding capacity.

Future "Silk Air-Route"

Pittsburgh has been eyed by Chinese business[citation needed] and industry as a key expansion point for a cargo super-highway. Negotiations are currently under way to serve as the American port to China's main industrial airport of Xi'an Xianyang. [4]. In October 2009 Pittsburgh based retailer American Eagle Outfitters landed its first direct flight cargo plane (Boeing 747-300) from Asia at PIT. Cargo came from both South Korea and Vietnam and entered U.S. Customs at the airport. AEO plans to direct-connect with their clothing suppliers in Asia on a quarterly or monthly basis by consolidating shipping to one chartered cargo flight through Pittsburgh. A second Boeing 747-300 landed on December 2, 2009 again chartered from Asia by AEO for cargo.

Top routes and airlines

Busiest routes out of PIT (August 2009)[35]
Rank Airport Weekly flights Airlines
1 New York City 149 American(JFK), Continental(EWR), Delta(JFK), JetBlue(JFK), US Airways(LGA)
2 Chicago 108 American(ORD), Southwest(MDW), United(ORD)
3 Atlanta
Washington, D.C (Including Baltimore)
93 Airtran, Delta
Southwest(BWI), United(IAD), US Airways(DCA)
5 Philadelphia 90 Southwest, US Airways, USA3000
Top airlines at PIT by daily flights (August 2009)[35]
Rank Airline Average daily flights Top destination
1 US Airways 45 Philadelphia
2 Delta Air Lines 30 Atlanta
3 Southwest Airlines 20 Chicago-Midway
4 United Airlines 17 Chicago-O'Hare
5 Continental Airlines 15 Newark
6 AirTran Airways
American Airlines
9 Atlanta
Dallas/Fort Worth
8 JetBlue Airways
Midwest Express
4 New York-JFK
10 Air Canada 3 Toronto-Pearson
11 Direct Air
USA 3000 Airlines
1 Myrtle Beach
Fort Myers
Top airlines at PIT by passengers. (2009 Final)[36]
Rank Airline Passengers % Change % of Passengers
1 US Airways 2,296,561 20.3 28.73
2 Southwest Airlines 1,509,547 3 18.88
3 Delta Air Lines[A] 1,369,010 8.04 17.13
4 United Airlines 778,606 0.7 9.74
5 Airtran Airways[B] 664,457 20.02 8.31
6 Continental Airlines 524,058 5.3 6.56
7 American Airlines 430,819 4.5 5.39
8 JetBlue Airways 176,971 10.9 2.21
9 USA 3000 Airlines 108,456 40 1.36
10 Midwest Airlines 71,708 11.8 0.90
11 Air Canada 32,878 25.5 0.41
12 Direct Air 31,194 12.7 0.39

A Includes Northwest Airlines
B Includes SkyWest Airlines


Highway connections

PIT is located at Exit 53 of Interstate 376 and the Northern Terminus Pennsylvania Route 576 (future I-576), and within 10 miles (20 km) of I-79 and 15 miles (24 km) of I-76 the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I-70 to the south and I-80 to the north are both less than an hour away.

Public transit

Bus service is also available from Downtown Pittsburgh and the city's University District (Oakland) via the Port Authority of Allegheny County's 28X Route as well as from the suburban BCTA Transit to locations north and westbound. MountainLine Transit's Grey Line also has service to areas south of Pittsburgh including Waynesburg, Pennsylvania; Morgantown, Fairmont, and Clarksburg, West Virginia.[37]

Route Title Areas Served
Airport Flyer
28X Universities, Downtown Pittsburgh, PIT Robinson Town Centre, Duquesne Incline, downtown Pittsburgh, Point Park University, Duquesne University, Chatham University, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland, Carnegie Mellon University
#6 Rochester, PIT, Robinson Mall Rochester, Hopewell, PIT, Robinson Town Centre, Robinson Mall
MountainLine Transit[37]
#29 Morgantown, PIT, Pittsburgh Greyhound Station Clarksburg, Fairmont, Morgantown, Waynesburg, PIT, Pittsburgh Greyhound

Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato hopes to eventually extend the Pittsburgh Light Rail system to the airport one day.[38]. In 2009, Onorato along with Congressman Mike Doyle requested approxiametly $7 million in funding from the federal government for preliminary planning of the extension.[39] The Obama administration in 2009 has also funded further research in the decade long proposal to install a Maglev line from Pittsburgh International east to Downtown Pittsburgh and the eastern suburbs of Monroeville, Pennsylvania and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Although the continued funding is hopeful, the plan is at least a decade away from completion.



Free Wi-Fi throughout a passenger terminal was unheard of until Pittsburgh International Airport launched the world's first in September 2003, a service that has been copied by several airports and airline terminals throughout the world since. [40] Hand in hand with its technology prowess Pittsburgh also became the first airport in the world to offer fare alert emails.[41] The airport innovated proactive emails on airfare discounts by carrier and destination weekly, proving very successful it was recognized by the Airports Council International for Excellence in Marketing and Communications in 2007 as first place in North America.[42] Using another blessing of Wi-Fi technology, Pittsburgh International Airport also helped to innovate electronic parking at airports nationwide with its GoFastPass system - a system similar to E-ZPass.[43]

AirMall concept

The AirMall at the airport also provided several world's firsts in both featuring fair "street prices" to wary air travelers and being the first major and diverse shopping center located within an airport terminal when it opened in 1992 with over 100 name brand retailers.[44] Along with this concept Pittsburgh became the first airport to have two XpresSpas in its retail area.

Upon opening, many local shoppers used to be able to shop inside the AirMall without a boarding pass. This procedure changed after the September 11, 2001 attacks so that anyone who was allowed past security without being an employee at the AirMall or the airport itself must purchase an airline ticket. Business dropped considerably due to the tighter regulations, although business later re-gained to pre-9/11 levels.


Pittsburgh was one of the first airports to deploy dozens of portable defibrillators,[45] and developed the first volunteer ambassador program.[46].[47] As of 2007 PIT became one of the first airport pilot programs (post 9/11) to allow guests at the airport hotel to have terminal access to the Airmall. Guests at the Hyatt Regency wishing to use this service must request a pass at the front desk and they will contact the proper authority to get them a security pass. Those wishing to do so still have to go through the security checkpoint.[48]

PIT has also shown excellence among carrier networks. Southwest Airlines had named its Pittsburgh base as the best in its system for 2006,[49] in its first full year of service at PIT. Among the factors in the award is on-time performance and efficient baggage service, two areas where the airport in general excels.


Airport maintenance has also claimed world firsts for PIT, developing one of the best winter weather operations in the nation with its unique front and rear deicing fleets and embedded runway sensors. The first use of the front discharge spray bars during winter weather was at Pittsburgh.[50] This innovative spirit among airport ground maintenance crews coupled with the abundance of runways and lengths, has given Pittsburgh the reputation in the industry as one of the few airports free of weather or winter delays.

PIT also is unique as being scheduled as the first "Joint Readiness Center",[51]


FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT

PIT's airfield features a wide, open layout and four runways, including three east-west parallel runways and a fourth crosswind runway. This configuration allows for the efficient flow of air traffic in nearly any wind condition. The airport's two longest runways are 11,500 feet (3,510 m) and 10,500 feet (3,200 m) in length, allowing PIT to accommodate even the largest of commercial aircraft. However, due to the development of non-aviation related business on airport land, PIT can add only one additional runway (this number was as high as four in the past).

With the availability of three parallel runways, simultaneous landings or departures can be performed in nearly any situation.[52] Runways 10R and 10L are equipped with Category III ILS (Instrument Landing System). 28R, 28L, and 32 have Category I ILS and 10C/ 28C has LOC/ GS.

Additional operations

Military Facilities

Air Mobility Command.png

PIT, as a primarily commercial complex, may not strike the average flyer as a site rich in military aviation tradition. Founded as a military airfield for the United States Army Air Force to answer the region's defense needs during World War II, the complex continues its legacy in support of today's United States Air Force and the Air Mobility Command (AMC) in reduced, but still visible ways as home to Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station. The airport hosts an average of 20 military flight operations per day in its role as host to the region's defense center.

During World War II, the airfield was a key training facility for Army Air Force Air Transport Command Aircrews. The 6th Ferrying Service Detachment was activated at the airfield on 15 July 1943, providing repair facilities for aircraft in transit between manufacturing facilities on the West Coast and Midwest to East Coast aerial ports for delivery to overseas units.[53] Also, the 60th College Training Detachment (Army Air Forces Training Command) provided military training at the airfield.[54] After the war, Pittsburgh Municipal Airport became a part of the Air Force Reserve, with the 444th Army Air Force (Later Air Force) Reserve Training Detachment being established at the civil airport.[55]

Pittsburgh's military heritage is also rekindled each summer as the complex hosts one of the largest air shows on the east coast, "Wings over Pittsburgh". Roughly 200,000 spectators attended the two-day show in 2005.[56] The military end of the airport complex has also been mentioned as the best relocation site for the region's Base Exchange (BX) operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES). The 2008 scheduled closing of the nearby Charles E. Kelley Support Facility and its Post Exchange (PX) has brought PIT the opportunity to host the new BX facility on its military side.

Air Force Reserve

Air Force Reserve Command.png

The 911th Airlift Wing (911 AW) on the airport's southeastern side is an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained unit of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), operating the C-130H Hercules tactical airlift aircraft. The 911 AW is composed of approximately 1,220 Air Force Reserve personnel. The wing employs approximately 320 civilians, including more than 180 Air Reserve Technicians (ART) holding dual civilian and military positions, as well as full-time active duty Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) personnel. [57]

Air National Guard

Air National Guard.png

The 171st Air Refueling Wing (171 ARW) of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard on the airport's southwestern side is also an Air Mobility Command (AMC)-gained organization and operates sixteen KC-135T Stratotanker air refueling aircraft, providing air refueling and air mobility/strategic airlift services world-wide. The 171 ARW is one of three flying wings in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and has over 400 full time staff, consisting of Active Guard and Reserve (AGR), dual civilian-military status Air Reserve Technicians (ART) and other USAF civilians, as well as over 1,000 "traditional" part-time Air National Guard personnel. [57]

FAA Facilities

Although the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard maintain a great presence on that corner of the complex, the shuttering of some of the Air Force facilities in recent decades has led to the growth of a new tenant for that equipment at Pittsburgh. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken over much of the excess cold-war era infrastructure that the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard no longer needs, making Pittsburgh recently an important regional center for the agency.

General aviation

The new Business Aviation Center (FBO Avcenter), located at the site of the former airport terminal building, is a modern and full service facility for management of corporate air travel and general aviation. It includes a 30,000 square-foot hangar, 7,250 square feet of flex office space, charter terminal facilities, conference rooms, passenger lounges, workout rooms, and a restaurant[58]. It is accessible by using Business 60 (Future Business I-376) in Moon Township.[59]

Airlines Destinations
Netjets Chartered Flights across North America.

Fire school

The Allegheny County Airport Authority Fire Bureau operates a next-generation, state of the art Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Training Center.

As an FAA regional training facility it comes equipped with a Boeing 757 mock-up offering realistic and challenging training. The simulated tail engine offers ARFF personnel critical high engine training scenarios. Adjacent to the first-training simulator is a four-story tower that houses the Computer Center ensuring consistent repeatable evolutions for each trainee and allows training to be conducted with the utmost safety of participants in mind. Being well within the airport boundary and designed to be in an area that minimizes distractions, the classrooms, management center, vehicle bay, trainee/equipment support areas and visitors center are located directly adjacent to the training grounds. This layout maximizes training time for students. The use of propane and control of water run-off combine to reduce environmental impact while providing quality occupational education for fire fighters, emergency responders and industrial personnel.[60]

The year round training facility offers specialized sessions in cold climate training evolutions. The system is propane fueled and computer controlled. It features a number of burn scenarios including:

Fictional portrayals

PIT has hosted major Hollywood productions, including:

Movie Production Usage
Only You 1994 during the beginning of the movie when Marissa Tomei's character rushes to the Airport to meet her soul mate and then flies to Venice
Houseguest 1995 when all characters are introduced into the film, Sinbad attempts to escape from the mob at the Airport landside terminal and convinces Phil Hartman and his family that he is his long last classmate.
The Young and the Restless March 1998 As a stand in for the fictional Genoa City International Airport.
Dogma 1999 during the opening scenes with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as a stand in for a "Wisconsin Airport"
Wonder Boys 2000
Screwed 2000 With Dave Chappelle, Norm MacDonald, Sarah Silverman and Danny DiVito
Smart People 2008 With Sarah Jessica Parker and Michael Hayden Church
Zack and Miri Make a Porno 2008 [61][62]
She's Out Of My League (Still in production) [63]
The Next Three Days (filming) Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks drama filming in the landside terminal at the "Canadian Southern Airlines" counter and at the airside terminal at the Southwest Airlines gates.

Aircraft accidents involving PIT

Date Flight/Airplane Description
November 22, 2001 Corporate Learjet Crashed after a rapid takeoff in which it went "nose-high" before the Pilot Flying (PF) lost control, both on board were killed.
September 8, 1994 USAir Flight 427 Crashed on approach from Chicago O'Hare International Airport. All 132 people on board were killed. It resulted in the longest and most thorough NTSB investigation in world history. It was determined that a lock occurred in rudder control that caused the plane to fall uncontrollably from 6,000 feet (1,800 m). Boeing has retrofitted every 737 because of the data gathered from this crash. The plane crashed roughly 10 miles (16 km) North-Northwest in Hopewell Township.
December 3, 1990 Northwest Airlines Flight 1482 Departing for Pittsburgh when it collided with Northwest Flight 299, a Boeing 727 at the intersection of Runways 09/27 and 03C/21C at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The 727 departing for Memphis International Airport was on its takeoff roll when it collided with the DC-9 that was just taxing onto the other runway. One of the causes of the incident was because of dense fog in the area. No one on the 727 was injured, but the DC-9 was completely destroyed.[64]
April 1, 1956 TWA Flight 400 It was a flight from Pittsburgh to Newark. It crashed about a half mile after taking off when the Captain and First Officer did not immediately correct a small engine malfunction/fire. Due to miscommunication and lack of focus it caused failure and a crash. Twenty-two of 36 occupants were killed.[65]
January 31, 1956 U.S. Air Force North American TB-25N Mitchell 44-29125, on cross country flight from Nellis AFB, Nevada to Olmsted AFB, Pennsylvania, after departing Selfridge AFB, Michigan suffers fuel starvation NE of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in mid-afternoon, attempts to divert to Greater Pittsburgh AFB, ditches in the Monongahela River at the 4.9 mile marker, west of the Homestead High-Level Bridge, drifts ~1.5 miles downstream in 8–10 kt. current, remaining afloat for 10–15 minutes. All six crew evacuate but two are lost in the 35 degree F water before rescue. Search for sunken bomber suspended 14 February with no success – aircraft is thought to have possibly settled in submerged gravel pit area in 32 feet of water, ~150 feet from shore, possibly now covered by 10–15 feet of silt. This crash remains one of the Pittsburgh region's unsolved mysteries.[66]


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