Pittsburgh International Airport’s surge toward pre-pandemic traffic levels continued in 2023 with promising signs that it will surpass those benchmarks in 2024.
The Allegheny County Airport Authority saw 9,192,660 travelers pass through its terminals last year, a 13.3 percent year-over-year increase and 94 percent of the nearly 9.8 million passengers from 2019 — the most served in more than a decade up to that point.
That passenger growth was fueled by the introduction of several new routes and expanded capacity on many others. Including recently announced service, PIT now has nonstop service to 61 destinations with more than 130 peak-day winter departures and more than 160 daily summer departures.
Service launched in 2023 included Breeze to Los Angeles, New Orleans and Portland, Maine; Spirit to Miami; and American Airlines to Cancun. Airlines added capacity on several routes as well, including Southwest Airlines to Austin, Denver and Phoenix; United Airlines to San Francisco; Spirit to Las Vegas.
Of special note was the expansion of British Airways’ nonstop service to London Heathrow from four days a week to six, a premier international route that will be complemented by nonstop service to Reykjavik beginning in May, per Icelandair’s November announcement.
Travelers wait at the gate area to board an Allegiant flight at PIT on Nov. 25, 2023. (Photo by Beth Hollerich)
That will give Pittsburgh daily service to Europe for the busy summer travel season, a strong indicator of the market’s growing appeal to international carriers. In all, 17 new routes were announced and/or launched at PIT in 2023, signaling that passenger demand in the region continues to swell.
Another clear sign of airlines’ faith in the Pittsburgh market is scheduled capacity through the first half of 2024. Airlines have scheduled 2.8 million seats in the first quarter at PIT — 0.9 percent higher than the same period in 2019, pre-pandemic. And when summer arrives in the second quarter, passengers will choose from 3.41 million seats, a whopping 10 percent jump from 2019.
More capacity means airlines are accommodating increased demand that would lead to further growth in passenger traffic. And increasingly, passengers are utilizing non-legacy carriers for their travel.
PIT’s carrier mix has led to a relatively even mix of passengers by airline. For 2023, Southwest led the way of the 14 airlines at PIT with 24.8 percent market share followed by American at 22.9 percent, followed by Delta, United Spirit and Allegiant. Passenger traffic outside of the Big 4 accounted for more than 20 percent of the passenger traffic, growth directly tied to the airport’s focus on diversifying its air service portfolio to accommodate different market segments.
And lastly, success in 2023 was not limited to PIT. Allegheny County Airport, a general aviation facility also operated by the Allegheny County Airport Authority, saw its busiest year in at least a decade, with 72,581 total operations — a 14 percent hike from 2022.