20 Things We’re Looking Forward to in 2020

As we embark on a new year, some highlights are already in our sights

By Jeff Martinelli

Published January 6, 2020

Read Time: 7 mins


1. London Calling: Happy Anniversary, British Airways! Thursday, April 2, marks the first anniversary of British Airways’ nonstop service to London Heathrow. The flight, which operates Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, has proven popular. The Queen, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and more are waiting for you to visit!


2. Dogs that Soothe: Yellow bandanas and wagging tails are how you’ll recognize our PIT PAWS (Puppies Alleviating Worries and Stress) Dog Therapy teams that visit PIT throughout the week. Each team has its own trading cards to collect. Just ask the pup’s handler when you see them – no begging required.


3. Easy as T-M-P: The Terminal Modernization Program Continues: We can expect the initial groundbreaking later this year on our new terminal, scheduled to be completed in 2023. Planning will continue for the facility that will modernize the airport for decades to come.


4. Aviation Infrastructure Improvements Across the Country: PIT isn’t alone in updating its aging aviation infrastructure as the industry evolves. In fact, more than 15 airports across the country are in the midst of major renovation or building projects including LAX, JFK and Columbus.


5. The ‘Burgh’s 91st Neighborhood: Pittsburgh is known for its 90 diverse neighborhoods, which give our great town its unique character. This year construction will begin on Neighborhood 91, a collection of like-minded 3D printing supply chain businesses coming together in one centrally based ecosystem to create enormous efficiencies in the additive manufacturing sector.


6. Power Up! Construction on the recently announced microgrid at Pittsburgh International Airport will begin in 2020, making PIT the first major U.S. airport powered entirely by its own energy source when completed in 2021. “This project will bring power resiliency and redundancy to enhance safety and ensure continued operations for the traveling public,” said CEO Christina Cassotis.


7. Condor Returns, Part IV: We’re celebrating not just one anniversary, but two! Condor returns in May for its fourth season of direct, nonstop flights to Frankfurt, Germany. Beer, music, sausage, beer, pretzels, lederhosen, beer –Germany is so much fun!


8. Airport Auction: Always a much-anticipated event, the Airport Auction will return once again this fall. Looking for a used car? There may be one, or 10, that grab your interest. Do you need a belt? We’ll have hundreds. Sunglasses? Yep, shades a-plenty! Look for an announcement late this summer.


9. First Time Flyers Program – April 4 and Sept. 12: Have you never flown? Does the enormity of the airport keep you from flying? Or just anxious about the whole experience? The First Time Flyers program may be for you. Designed for new or infrequent flyers, this two-hour program will take you through the entire airport process up to boarding and also includes a TSA demonstration on what to expect at the checkpoint.


10. REAL ID Deadline: Oct. 1 may be the most important day of 2020. Starting that day, you will need a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license, photo ID card, or another form of federally acceptable identification – such as a valid passport or military ID – to board a domestic commercial flight or enter a federal building or military installation that requires ID. Apply for REAL ID today!


11. Vacation Express adds Cabo San Lucas: That’s right – starting Sunday, July 5, and continuing every Sunday through Aug. 2, Vacation Express will be offering nonstop service to Cabo San Lucas. Although we can’t guarantee a party with the Red Rocker Sammy Hagar, good times are sure to be had. This new service will complement seasonal flights on Vacation Express to Cancun; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Montego Bay, Jamaica.


12. Spirit to Cancun: We’re not sure if “Mexico is for Lovers,” but we do know it is a place to soak in some serious sun and fun. Spirit Airlines seems to know that as well – and that’s why, right before Valentine’s Day, the airline will be adding nonstop service to Cancun on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.


13. Seattle Success: Alaska Airlines began its nonstop flight to Seattle less than two years ago, and demand is so high that the airline has announced it will begin a second daily flight to Seattle beginning in May and ending in September. Pacific Northwest, here we come!


14. Holiday Open House – Dec. 5: We just finished our annual Holiday Open House and plans are already being set for the holiday season of 2020. This event grows every year, and you can expect music, balloon artists, magicians, great deals and more surprises! Look for the registration announcement in the fall.


15. Art in the Airport: Our Art in the Airport program has grown by leaps and bounds over the years — and it will grow even more in this new decade. Plans for 2020 include a new twist with our artist-in-residency program, more suspended sculptures and, possibly, another surprise to welcome visitors.


16. Tech Vibe: The airport already partners with Carnegie Mellon University and spinoff companies to improve the traveler experience with innovations like Zensors, which calculates  security wait times, and NavCog, an app that helps blind travelers navigate the airport. More tech improvements are on the way this year.


17. State of the Airport: Since 2016, the Allegheny County Airport Authority has joined with regional leaders and airline partners to offer the community an informative look back at yearly progress and a view for the future of Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport.


18. Run on a Runway – Fly By 5K: The Fall Classic, as we refer to the airport’s 5K and 2-mile fun run hosted on the airport runways and taxiways, grows every year. More than 1,500 runners, and walkers participated last year but we have rooms for lots more! Look for registration notices to come out early this summer for the run, which occurs every September.


19. Thanksgiving and the Holiday Choral Concerts: Although it’s the busiest time of the year, nothing beats the Holiday Season at PIT. Festive events, decorations, loved ones meeting long-distance relatives in baggage claim. Another long-standing tradition is area school choirs and orchestras performing at the airport, which adds a special touch of Holiday Spirit.


20. A Beautiful Day in Our Neighborhood: Can you say “friendly”? We knew you could! Friendliness is what Pittsburgh is all about. No group displays that welcoming feeling better than our more than 100 volunteer Ambassadors. And very early this spring, our Ambassadors will be easier to find as their new uniforms will reflect the wardrobe of Pittsburgh’s friendliest neighbor, Mister Rogers.

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