Hey, Pittsburgh. London is calling—again.
British Airways announced Monday that it will resume nonstop service between Pittsburgh International Airport and London Heathrow Airport beginning June 3, restoring a key international route to the region.
BA will operate year-round with service on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The flights will depart London Heathrow at 4:45 p.m. local time and land in Pittsburgh at 7:50 p.m. local time. Return flights will leave Pittsburgh at 9:50 p.m. and arrive in London at 10:10 a.m. the next morning.
Tickets are available for purchase starting today at BA.com.
British Airways resumed service to Pittsburgh in April 2019 following a 20-year hiatus. The London-Pittsburgh route ran for a year before pandemic-related travel restrictions forced BA to suspend operations in March 2020.
“We cannot wait to bring back our Pittsburgh route next summer,” Marie Hilditch, British Airways’ head of North America sales, said. “Today’s announcement is an exciting moment for customers wanting to plan ahead next year—to take a much-needed holiday or visit family and friends after a long time apart.”
The return of British Airways is a coup for PIT, which has been working with the airline on a return date since the pandemic hiatus.
“The economic benefits provided by nonstop service between London and Pittsburgh are far-reaching,” said CEO Christina Cassotis. “We’ve said all along that it’s important that this flight succeeds, and we’re thrilled for a 2022 return during the busy summer travel season.
“Thank you to British Airways for continuing to recognize that the Pittsburgh region is back,” she said. “We are looking forward to working together.”
An economic impact study commissioned by PIT in 2018 found that the British Airways flight was expected to contribute more than $50 million annually to the regional economy.
“The key thing to remember is this gives Western Pennsylvania access to the rest of the world,” Michael Boyd, president and CEO of Boyd Group International, an aviation consultancy, told Blue Sky News in 2019.
“Pittsburgh represents a lot of global traffic that British Airways wants,” he said. “People will drive (hours) to Pittsburgh to make an international flight. It’s faster to do that than it is to fly to Philadelphia to make a connection.”
The news was welcomed by VisitPITTSBURGH President and CEO Jerad Bachar, who noted the flight also brings the world to Pittsburgh.
“The reinstatement of British Airways nonstop service between London and Pittsburgh once again establishes a gateway to bring Pittsburgh to the world and the world to Pittsburgh,” Bachar said. “We are elated for U.K. visitors to once again have a direct path to our outstanding ‘Only in Pittsburgh’ attractions and experiences. We look forward to continuing to collaboratively work alongside our partners at the Pittsburgh International Airport as we ramp up our international marketing efforts to promote Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania in key European markets.”
British Airways officials have cited the region’s renaissance as one of the drivers in selecting Pittsburgh for service.
“This flight is a big deal for our region, and we are so pleased to welcome British Airways back,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The business and leisure connections between Pittsburgh and the U.K. are numerous and this flight will be an economic driver for both markets.”
The 787-8 Dreamliner is the airline’s newest and most fuel-efficient widebody passenger jet. The aircraft features 214 total seats in a three-class cabin layout. The aircraft will also have the ability to serve air cargo, which will support the growing international logistics success in Pittsburgh the airport has seen over the last three years.
The Dreamliner was built, in part, using technology and parts developed by major Pittsburgh companies ATI and PPG.
Travelers will be able to connect quickly via London Heathrow to British Airways’ global network of more than 100 destinations worldwide throughout Europe, India and Asia.
Public health top of mind
British Airways has adopted numerous measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its passengers and flight crews.
These include social distancing practices, wearing face coverings and frequent hand sanitizer stations. The airline is cleaning all key surfaces in the cabin nose-to-tail before every flight.
Cabin air on all British Airways flights is recycled once every two to three minutes through HEPA filters, which remove microscopic bacteria and virus clusters with more than 99 percent efficiency, equivalent to hospital operating standards.
Similarly, PIT’s Safe Travel’s initiative commits to the highest in public health and safety standards in the industry. The initiative, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, outlines the best practices for keeping travelers healthy.
PIT has partnered with TACKL Health to offer on-site COVID-19 testing to passengers. The airport has locations on the second floor of the landside terminal prior to the security screening checkpoint and in Concourse A in the airside terminal.