Summer travel is here and airlines serving Pittsburgh International Airport are adding flights to new and existing destinations, domestically and internationally.
Why it matters: The airline industry is expecting a busy summer travel season and appears set to move beyond pandemic-era losses and the widespread disruptions from last summer when resurgent demand overwhelmed the industry.
- The demand has continued to grow and airlines are taking what they’ve learned post-pandemic and adjusting their operations to accommodate new consumer patterns and expectations.
Driving the news: Airline seat capacity at PIT for May is up 15 percent year-over-year and scheduled flights are up 1.8 percent for a total of 943 weekly departures. Total seats are approximately 96 percent recovered compared to the same period in 2019, indicating that capacity at PIT is getting closer to pre-pandemic numbers.
- Delta Air Lines, for example, reported record advanced bookings for summer travel in its first quarter earnings, while Lufthansa expects a strong summer travel season after booking higher revenue and narrower losses for the first quarter.
International travel: Air Canada resumed daily service to Montreal on May 1 and British Airways increased nonstop flights to London Heathrow to six times a week on Sunday.
- Coinciding with its increase in service, British Airways announced its Original Sale for all transatlantic flights with special fares available for purchase through May 30. Tickets can be purchased through britishairways.com.
- In addition to London and Montreal, PIT also offers nonstop international service to Cancun on Apple Vacations, Southwest Airlines and Vacation Express; Punta Cana on Apple Vacations and Vacation Express; and Toronto on Air Canada.
Breeze growth: Breeze Airways, which has rapidly expanded in the Pittsburgh market, will begin four new routes in the coming days from PIT: Raleigh-Durham, N.C. on May 18; Long Island-Islip, N.Y. and Jacksonville, Fla. on May 25; and Portland, Maine on June 2.
- On the Pittsburgh-Raleigh route, Breeze joins American Airlines, which operates two daily nonstops.
- Breeze becomes the first airline to connect PIT and Long Island-Islip with nonstop service since US Airways over 25 years ago. It also becomes the second carrier to serve Jacksonville nonstop alongside Allegiant Air.
- It is the first nonstop service between Pittsburgh and Portland since the summer of 2021, when United Airlines last served the route.
ULCC activity: Other ultra-low-cost carriers will be resuming seasonal services later this week at PIT. Sun Country Airlines will resume nonstop flights to Minneapolis on Thursday and Allegiant will bring back its service to Austin, Texas, on Friday.
- Sun Country will double its service to Minneapolis in 2023, increasing flights from twice a week to four times a week. Sun Country opened PIT in June 2022, becoming the airport’s fourth ULCC alongside Allegiant, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines.
- Allegiant will operate its Austin service twice a week on Mondays and Fridays through mid-August. It also flies to Austin nonstop from PIT alongside Southwest Airlines, which recently announced it will upgrade its flights to daily, year-round later this year.