2023 Was Quite a Year at PIT

More to Come in 2024

By Julie Bercik

Published December 28, 2023

Read Time: 4 mins


Aviation is what we do at Pittsburgh International Airport, and this year, we announced 15 new routes, including new flights to Iceland, bringing our total nonstop flights to 61 destinations around the world. But there’s more to PIT’s story beyond flights.  

A Force at Work 

Our 8,800-acre campus is home to PIT2Work, a job training program supporting a diverse range of career opportunities at the airport and the skilled trades. Twenty-five men and women from the region completed the five-week training program, and some started working immediately.  

“Getting into this program it’s actually opened up my eyes to a whole bunch of other things that are career and life changing,” said Tawain Barlow, a PIT2Work graduate now working in the union trades. 

Recognizing that transportation and childcare are barriers to employment, PIT worked to increase public transportation servicing the airport. PIT also opened an on-site childcare center for airport employees and skilled trades workers building PIT’s new terminal.  

“Everybody deserves access to quality childcare. I think that’s kind of table stakes when you are trying to grow an economy,” said Christina Cassotis, Pittsburgh International Airport CEO.  

Students from PIT2Work’s second graduating class pose for a photo with regional executives and union leaders during a commencement ceremony. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

Getting Closer to Opening Day of PIT’s New Terminal 

PIT’s new terminal is the front door of the region, showcasing all Pittsburgh has to offer. It’s an airport that’s being built for Pittsburgh by Pittsburgh, with 90 percent of the contracts awarded to local firms. 

“Who would have known at 9 when my dad was making me shake folks’ hands that those would be the same folks I’m partnering with today,” said Brandy Weatherspoon, president and owner of Weatherspoon and Williams LLC. “It gives general wealth … it gives institutional knowledge.” 

The Terminal Modernization Program creates 14,300 direct and indirect jobs for the region with an economic impact of $2.5 billion dollars for the region. The terminal opens in 2025 and will be powered by PIT’s microgrid which powers the existing terminal. 

A Force for Resiliency and Leading the Way in Innovation 

PIT’s microgrid is the first of its kind in the world, and the industry is taking note. CAPA – Centre for Aviation recently named PIT its Environmental Sustainability Airport of the Year.  

Five natural gas-fired generators and close to 10,000 solar panels make up the microgrid and power 100 percent of PIT’s campus. That means the traditional grid is now backup power. The microgrid has reduced PIT’s carbon emissions by approximately six million pounds annually, and the airport saves $1.5 million dollars a year in utility costs.  

But the microgrid is not the only way PIT is being innovative. Once again, PIT will be part of the second annual Aviation and Robotics Summit, merging aviation and robotics, fitting for a city called the “Robotics Capital of the World.”  

The Future Travel Experience (FTE) Aviation & Robotics Summit 2024 will bring together aviation and robotics industry professionals with the primary goal of solving aviation business and operational challenges with robotics. The first summit was held in April 2023 and attracted executives from more than 25 airlines and airports from across the world. 

PIT is a global leader in aviation and the airport’s leaders are being asked to speak all over the world about innovation, from the microgrid to our world-class sensory room, Presley’s Place. This year PIT received several industry awards and was named the 2023 Airport Pioneer by Future Travel Experience.  

We are proud to be recognized – but it’s not why we do this work. We are doing it for the future of the region, to make sure everyone who walks through our doors feels a sense of belonging. We want to make travel accessible to all.  

Our achievements are rooted in our team. They are the ones who make it happen on a local, national and global stage. This is our story. It’s who we are, and how we go to further for all. 

From left, ACAA Board Member Tom McIntyre, Trying Together Executive Director Cara Ciminillo, County Councilman Sam DeMarco, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, PIT CEO Christina Cassotis, Hillman Foundation President David Roger, PIT Chief Human Capital Officer Lisa Naylor and Learning Care Group/La Petite Academy Chief Business Development Officer Sean Sondreal cut the ribbon at the airport’s new childcare facility. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)

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