With spring officially arriving Monday, it’s only appropriate that passenger traffic at Pittsburgh International Airport is blossoming.
At Friday’s public board meeting for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates PIT, CEO Christina Cassotis announced that passenger levels are approaching pre-pandemic levels faster than anticipated.
“We’re at 92.1 percent recovered,” Cassotis said of the year to date. “This is great news; we budgeted 90 percent recovery.”
In February alone, the airport saw nearly 600,000 travelers, approximately 94 percent of the same month in 2019. And the gains are directly attributable to growing investments from airlines in the Pittsburgh market.
Growing seat capacity—in February, it was 99 percent of pre-pandemic levels—accommodates growing demand, a strategy airlines execute by serving routes with larger aircraft and/or increasing service. And in July, airport officials anticipate seat capacity will surpass pre-pandemic levels for the first time.
Southwest, the largest carrier at PIT in terms of passengers, resumed its seasonal weekly service to Cancun, Mexico, on March 11, and recently announced it will expand its nonstop service to Austin, Texas, from once a week to daily in October.
“Daily service to Austin on Southwest is great for our tech community, and we’re really excited about the types of services that are either resuming or starting anew for Southwest Airlines, and this is just one example of one airline where we’ve seen significant growth,” Cassotis said.
In addition, Houston-Hobby service resumes April 16 and goes from weekly to six times a week in July; Myrtle Beach weekend service resumes June 4 and goes daily in July; and service to Atlanta and Denver will each add another daily flight in July, as well.
And ultra-low cost carrier Breeze Airways, which launched less than two years ago with PIT among its first 16 cities served, will serve 10 nonstop destinations from Pittsburgh this summer after recently announcing new additions to its schedule.
On May 18, twice-weekly flights to Raleigh-Durham will commence, with routes to Long Island-Islip, N.Y. and Jacksonville, Fla., starting a week later. And on June 2, Breeze will begin service to Portland, Maine. Islip and Portland are new points on PIT’s route map.
All told, PIT now serves 61 markets with 142 peak-day departures.