In a few days, London gets a whole lot closer to Pittsburgh.
British Airways announced in December that it would resume nonstop, year-round flights between Pittsburgh International Airport and London Heathrow Airport, restoring a key international route to the region.
On June 3, the first Pittsburgh-London flight since early 2020 is scheduled to touch down at PIT. British Airways launched the route in April 2019 after a 20-year hiatus and operated it for about a year until pandemic-related travel restrictions forced the airline to suspend the route in early 2020.
The return of BA is a coup for PIT. The airport had been working with the airline on a return date since the hiatus began.
“To the community that supported the flight when it came back after 20 years, it was a big deal to get it back in the first place,” said Christina Cassotis, CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport. “BA really, really took the time to understand and believe in this market.”
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.
An economic impact study commissioned by PIT in 2018 found that the Pittsburgh-London route was expected to contribute over $50 million annually to the region’s economy.
British Airways officials chose Pittsburgh for service citing the region’s renaissance, which boasts a rapidly growing technology sector and a booming scene for life sciences research and development.
“This flight matters to the tech economy, innovation economy and the universities,” said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. “It matters to all people who are building businesses.”
British Airways will utilize its Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the route, the airline’s newest and most fuel-efficient widebody passenger jet. The aircraft features 214 total seats in a three-class cabin layout. It will also carry cargo, which will support the growing international logistics presence at the airport over the last three years.
The Dreamliner also has a local connection: It was built, in part, using technology and parts developed by major Pittsburgh companies ATI and PPG.
Pittsburgh-London nonstop service will allow travelers to arrive in Europe faster than a connection through major East Coast hubs such as New York or Philadelphia.
Travelers will be able to seamlessly connect via London Heathrow to British Airways’ network of more than 100 destinations worldwide throughout Europe, India and Asia. In addition, British Airways’ membership in the Oneworld Alliance and its transatlantic joint venture further galvanizes the airline’s global network.
“British Airways is probably the most critical international route we can hope for in a city like Pittsburgh,” said Jerad Bachar, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH the city’s tourism agency. “It connects us to not only markets in the UK, but around the world.”
British Airways’ Oneworld membership and transatlantic joint venture will connect Pittsburgh to global destinations beyond London. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)