At a time of turmoil and change in the aviation industry, Pittsburgh International Airport is forging ahead to redefine the future of air travel.
So says Future Travel Experience, an online media and events firm, which on Sept. 19 named PIT one of three winners of its Airport Pioneer Award. The airport was recognized for transforming the passenger experience though its leadership in technology, sustainability and workforce development.
In April, PIT started a partnership with International Airlines Group (IAG) to further explore robotics and technology as solutions for challenges in aviation.
The airport also has plans to introduce sustainable aviation fuel, a cleaner alternative to standard jet fuel. That decision builds on the microgrid PIT introduced two years ago, the first in the world to power a major airport through natural gas and solar energy.
“The City of Pittsburgh had its roots in energy before steel defined the second industrial revolution,” said William Swelbar, an aviation industry analyst. “Clean energy is likely the third industrial revolution and Pittsburgh International Airport will have much to say about the transformation of the aviation energy system.”
It has been a busy year for PIT. The airport is expanding its workforce through initiatives like PIT2Work, an onsite training program that prepares participants for careers in the trades, including jobs on PIT’s $1.57 billion new terminal, scheduled to open in 2025.
In September, PIT’s new onsite childcare center for employees opened its doors, and the airport has continued to expand transportation routes to help break down barriers preventing people from starting their careers at the airport.
The Pioneer Award came as FTE also announced that PIT will host its Aviation & Robotics Summit for the second year. Attendees from international airlines, airports and technology vendors will be invited to learn more about how robotics and technology can help solve ongoing issues in aviation.
“It’s hard to find the right superlatives to describe all that is happening as transformative at Pittsburgh International Airport under the leadership of Christina Cassotis and the talented team she has assembled,” Swelbar said. “But the world is certainly watching.”