Pittsburgh International Airport’s cargo infrastructure got a boost last week when federal officials announced a grant to help lengthen a key taxiway used by cargo planes at the airport.
The July 26 announcement is the latest win for the region in increasing PIT’s capacity to handle cargo from around the world.
The FAA awarded the $3.26 million grant to extend Taxiway A, which will be used to access the new Cargo 4 facility, expected to open in 2024. The grant covers 75 percent of the expected cost, projected at $4.3 million.
“Cargo continues to be a key initiative for Pittsburgh International Airport and we look forward to expanding our cargo facilities to meet the growing demand. PIT is an ideal international gateway, offering an uncongested, speedy alternative to major air hubs,” said Vince Gastgeb, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Government Relations.
“I’d like to thank our federal partners for recognizing the importance of a global logistical hub and supporting this strategic project.”
Work on the taxiway will start within the next two months and will not affect airport operations. Currently, work is underway for site preparation.
Expansion of cargo facilities
Renderings of PIT’s new Cargo 4 facility show a 77,000-square-foot facility with warehouse and office space, 17 loading docks and an ability to handle freight from any aircraft operating today, significantly increasing PIT’s cargo capacity.
Cargo 4 will allow PIT to accept freight from abroad and distribute it throughout the eastern United States, making the Western Pennsylvania region more competitive in a growing industry and positioning the airport as a leading gateway for international logistics.
“Pittsburgh International Airport is a major hub that connects Southwestern Pennsylvania to the rest of the world,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who announced the grant. “This funding will allow PIT to make a much-needed extension to a taxiway so passengers and goods can keep moving through our airport.”
Airport officials said current freight capacity at the airport’s existing cargo facilities—Cargo 1, 2, 3 and A—is expected to top out in the near future. In addition to providing much-needed space for future expansion, Cargo 4 will also bring new technology and handling capabilities to PIT.
The facility includes warehouse space and office space across two floors. The loading docks will come with dock levelers while others will be used specifically for Unit Loading Devices (ULDs). Flatbed trucks will be able to access the interior of the warehouse, which is advantageous in poor weather.
Dedicated areas in the facility will be able to segregate goods deemed valuable, vulnerable or hazardous. It will also have the expansion capabilities to hold more equipment for special cargo and accommodate temperature-controlled goods, products that are time or temperature-sensitive and require expedited transportation to their final destination.
The building’s design includes additional space for security screening; international cargo must undergo an extensive screening process and be cleared before it can be loaded onto trucks.