Find a New Set of Wheels at Airport Auction

By Matt Neistein

Published October 2, 2023

Read Time: 3 mins


The annual auction at Pittsburgh International Airport is just days away, and the official list of items for sale now includes more than 20 vehicles.

Almost evenly split between vehicles abandoned by passengers in the airport’s parking lots and Allegheny County Airport Authority vehicles that have been replaced in the fleet, the cars and trucks are the biggest—and often the most popular—targets for deal hunters.

The vehicles are lined up along the walls of the Heavy Equipment building on the north side of PIT’s airfield, where the auction is held each year. They’ll likely be surrounded by interested buyers minutes after the doors open at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.

This year, attendees will have options like a 2016 Ford Explorer and a 2012 Chevrolet Equinox that were left behind at the airport. For those looking for something a bit more, ahem, vintage, there’s also a 2005 Kia Sportage and a 2002 Buick Century.

Those looking for vehicles with a work pedigree can peruse four Ford SUVs that have cycled out of the airport’s fleet, with model years of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, albeit with high mileage. There’s also a 2006 Chevrolet crew cab pickup and 2007 Express van available.

And, of course, there are thousands more items of a non-vehicular nature for sale, as well.

This 2005 Toyota Avalon is among a handful of sedans that will be up for bidding at PIT’s annual auction. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

Where they come from

The former airport authority vehicles don’t raise many questions among interested buyers—equipment is regularly retired and replaced as part of the ACAA’s fleet management processes, and this is the best way to liquidate the assets.

But who leaves their car at the airport and never comes back for it?

It’s a really good question, and one airport staffers get a lot. Unfortunately, there isn’t a really good answer.

Vehicles that sit in one of the airport’s parking lots for longer than 45 days are towed to a storage lot, and staff members inform the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The government does its best to contact the owners and ask them to retrieve their vehicles.

Sometimes an owner will tell the airport to keep the vehicles because they’re unwilling or unable to pay the cost of getting the car back after fees for parking, storage, etc. And sometimes officials just can’t get in touch with an owner.

In those scenarios, the state will legally declare the vehicle abandoned, and ACAA is allowed to sell it at auction. The authority deducts outstanding fees from the proceeds of the sale, and any remainder is sent to the state.

Proceeds from the sale of authority equipment goes back to the airport, and revenue from the sale of items from the lost and found is given to the ACAA Charitable Foundation.

Attendees will be able to bid on this 2016 Mazda CX5 crossover SUV, one of the newest vehicles that will be available at this year’s auction. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

If you go

Joe R. Pyle Auctions will conduct the auction, which will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Heavy Equipment Building on Cargo Road on PIT’s airfield, near the intersection of University Boulevard and Business 376 in Moon Township. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m.

Bidding will be in-person only. All sales are final. There will be no exchanges or refunds. All items are “as is.” There will be a 15 percent buyer’s premium with 5 percent waived for cash or check purchase. Cash, credit cards and checks accepted. Payment must be made in full at time of auction to the cashier.

Directions to auction: Follow Business Loop I-376 to Hangar Road; turn left at the traffic light toward Airport Maintenance Facilities; at next intersection turn left on to Cargo Road and follow to top of hill. Airport Authority employees will direct attendees to parking location.

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