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Pittsburgh International Airport
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Pittsburgh International Airport

For the United States Air Force facility at PIT, see Pittsburgh IAP Air Reserve Station

Pittsburgh International Airport , formerly Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Greater Pittsburgh International Airport and commonly referred to as Pittsburgh International, is a joint civil military international airport located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Findlay Township, approximately west of downtown Pittsburgh at Exit 53 of I-376 and the Northern Terminus of PA Turnpike 576 (Future I-576).



The airport is completely encircled by both I-376 and I-376-B which is the main access for Airport Cargo and Servicing as well as other flight industries. It is owned by Allegheny County and operated by the Allegheny County Airport Authority which also operates the Allegheny County Airport. PIT is primarily a passenger airport serving the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, providing 160 non-stop flights per day to 36 destinations with twelve airlines.[1] It also serves as the home of Pittsburgh Air Reserve Station, a combined facility of the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard, providing aerial refueling, air mobility and tactical airlift support to the U.S. Air Force and other U.S. Department of Defense activities. Finally, the airport also has a air cargo facility and supports general aviation operations.

PIT is the second busiest passenger airport in Pennsylvania and 47th-busiest in the United States,[2] serving 8,710,291 passengers in 2008 on 167,729 aircraft operations.[3] The airport has the longest runways of a commercial airport in Pennsylvania at . Until 2004, US Airways operated its largest hub at PIT. As of 2010, the airline remains PIT's largest carrier (handling 26 percent[4] of passengers), though once the merger between Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways is completed, the merged carrier is expected to become the largest carrier.[4] US Airways currently utilizes ten gates, more than any other airline at PIT, followed by Delta which operates five gates.

The airport offers service to Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, and Europe. Nonstop transatlantic service resumed on June 3, 2009 when Delta Air Lines began flights to Paris.[5] The new service operates 5 days a week and was made possible by Delta's successful joint-venture with Air France.[6]

PIT occupies more than , making it the fourth-largest airport by land area owned in the nation,[7] behind Denver International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Orlando International Airport.[8]

PIT has been frequently recognized for its quality in meeting travelers' needs. OAG Worldwide listed the facility to its short list of the world's best airports for four consecutive years. The market research leader, JD Power and Associates named PIT among the top five airports in its two most recent customer satisfaction surveys. Conde Nast Traveler's Magazine named PIT the best in the United States[9] and third in the world in its 2000 People's Choice Award. In 2011 Conde Nast Traveler ranked the facility the 7th best for business travelers.[10]


Early years

Until the beginning of World War II, Moon Township, Pennsylvania was mostly a rural agricultural area. It was too far from downtown Pittsburgh to be considered the "suburb" that it is today, although it was served solely by Pittsburgh based, state and federal services as well as Pittsburgh based media. In the early 1920s, John A. Bell of Carnegie purchased a number of small farms in Moon and established a major commercial dairy farm on his of land. He was bought out by Mr. and Mrs. E.E. Rieck and C.F. Nettrour, owners of the established "Rieck's" Dairy, who doubled the number of cattle at the farm.

By 1940 the United States was becoming involved in World War II. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) identified that the Pittsburgh area needed a military airport to defend the industrial wealth of the area and to provide a training base and stop-over facility. The agricultural expanses of Moon Township were attractive to the early airport planners in the city. The WPA bought the Bell Farm and began construction of the runways on April 20, 1942.

In 1944 Allegheny County officials proposed to expand the military airport with the addition of a commercial passenger terminal in order to relieve the Allegheny County Airport, which was built in 1926 and whose capacity was quickly becoming insufficient to support the growing demand for air travel. Ground was broken on the new public passenger terminal on July 18, 1946. The new terminal building would eventually cost $33 million to build and was built exclusively by Pittsburgh-area companies. The new airport, christened as Greater Pittsburgh Airport (renamed Greater Pittsburgh International Airport in 1972 upon the opening of the International Arrivals Building) opened on May 31, 1952. The first flight occurred on June 3, 1952. In its full year of operation in 1953, over 1.4 million passengers used the terminal. At that time, "Greater Pitt" was considered "modern" and spacious. In fact the airport terminal was the largest in the United States, second only to Idlewild Airport's (now JFK Airport) in New York when it was completed five years later. The airport's capacity is one of its most valuable assets.

A replica of PIT's original terrazzo compass located in the new main terminal
A replica of PIT's original terrazzo compass located in the new main terminal
The airport was designed by a local architect named Joseph W. Hoover. One of the primary features of his style is the use of simple, exposed concrete, steel, and glass materials. The terminal building was constructed in "stepped" levels: the first floor extended farther than the second, the second floor extended farther than the third, etc. Such a design meant that the uncovered roof of the lower level could then be used as an observation deck. In addition to the observation desks, the rounded "Horizon Room" was designed on the fourth floor with a commanding view of the airport runways. The interior of the terminal building was designed in the International Style, as was the exterior. One of the most memorable features of the lobby was the large compass laid in the floor with the green and yellow-orange terrazzo. The lobby also included shops and services for travelers. A mobile by Alexander Calder was another decorative feature of the lobby. The mobile currently hangs in the center core of the new airside terminal, and a re-creation of the compass was installed in the new terminal at an exhibit dedicated to old "Greater Pitt."

Growth of a Major Airport

The first five airlines of the Greater Pittsburgh Airport were TWA, Capital Airlines (later part of United), Northwest, All American (later Allegheny Airlines, then USAir, and finally US Airways), and Eastern Airlines. The April 1957 Airline Guide shows 58 weekday departures on Capital, 54 TWA, 18 Allegheny, 8 United, 7 Eastern, 4 Northwest, 3 American and 2 Lake Central. Eastern had nonstops to Miami, but westward nonstops didn't reach beyond St Louis though TWA had an overnight 1049G nonstop from Los Angeles ("Berths Available").

The 1956 airport diagram shows runway 10/28 7500 ft, 5/23 5766 ft and 14/32 5965 ft. The longest runway remained 7500 ft until a few years after jet service started in 1959.

In 1959 the east dock was added to the terminal as air travel became more popular. On July 25, 1959, TWA introduced scheduled jet aircraft service (Boeing 707) to Pittsburgh. With the longer range of jet engines, international air travel was more practical. By 1969, the airport sought to become an "international" airport. Ground was broken for the new International Wing, west of the original terminal building, on July 8, 1970. The International Wing opened in 1972 to accommodate federal inspection services and other requirements for international travel.

Greater Pittsburgh Airport, circa 1977. From the 1960s to about 1985, Trans World Airlines operated a hub out of Pittsburgh. Destinations included major and secondary US Cities, London and Frankfurt.

In 1972, rotundas were added to the end of each dock to further expand the number of gates at the terminal. In the later 1970s, significant growth in regional air travel created a need for additional gates at the terminal. In 1980, the South East Dock was opened. Even with these large expansions, the terminal could not meet the needs of modern air travel. In 1987, with the financial backing of USAir (the most dominant carrier in Pittsburgh at the time), work commenced on a billion dollar expansion project at the airport.

In 1985 the first Transatlantic flight service on a foreign airline came to Pittsburgh: British Airways started service using Boeing 747-200 aircraft. The initial route was Pittsburgh to London-Heathrow with a stop in Washington, D.C.. The stop point was later changed to Philadelphia. Later, British Airways moved the non-stop flight to London-Gatwick, with a change to London-Heathrow again with a stop in Montreal during the winter season. The airline ended service at the airport completely on October 31, 1999. In 2000, US Airways picked up the route to London-Gatwick but canceled it in 2004 due to extensive downsizing of the airport.

On October 1, 1992 the new complex opened and all operations transferred over from the old terminal overnight. The old terminal, demolished in 1999, remained standing to house remaining operations offices. The new terminal buildings were equipped with numerous innovative, state-of-the-art features at the time, including an AirMall with over 100 major name retailers and eateries (more defined in Passenger Complex section of this article). The new Landside/Airside design construction eliminated the need for connecting passengers to go through security again. The Airside Terminal at Pittsburgh International, which was designed by Tasso Katselas Associates, Inc.[11], became a model for other airports around the world, specifically in designs that simplified aircraft movement on the airfield and enabled easy pedestrian traffic to the gates.

Decline of US Airways

End of Concourse A, sealed off (December 2011) By the late 1990s growth had leveled off, with USAir (later US Airways) concentrating on expanding at Philadelphia and Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. In 1997, the airport handled almost 21 million passengers, the largest number of passengers served in one year since the airport's opening.[12] Tough economic conditions for airlines at the start of the 21st century, the September 11 attacks, and high operating costs at the airport put the US Airways hub in Pittsburgh at a serious disadvantage. By 2003, US Airways reported to be running a $40 million loss per year operating its hub at Pittsburgh[13] while paying roughly 80% of the new airport's $673 million dollar debt stemming from its requested construction of the new terminals.[14] After failed negotiations to lower landing fees and debt obligation, the airline announced in 2004 that it would be substantially reducing its operations at Pittsburgh, shifting operations to Charlotte and Philadelphia.[15] By the end of 2005, the airline had eliminated 7,000 jobs while only operating roughly 200 flights per day, which were primarily domestic flights.[16] All service to Europe had ceased to operate. A year later, the airline had only about 170 flights per day to and from Pittsburgh, most being domestic flights.[17] Unrelenting flight and job cuts continued through the decade, as well as closure of Concourse E on the Landside Terminal and Concourse A on the Airside Terminal. By the end of the decade, the only US Airways operations that remained 68 flights per day, operating from ten gates on Concourse B, and one US Airways Club location. Numerous US Airways ticketing and customer service counters were abandoned, and 15 gates on Concourse A and B were sealed off from the rest of the airport.[18]

Rise of Other Carriers

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 Pulling into the gate from Orlando, FL
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 Pulling into the gate from Orlando, FL
While US Airways made immense cuts in service during the early 21st century, other carriers began to play a more dominant role at PIT. The airport's operator, the Allegheny County Airport Authority, has attempted to attract new service to the airport, particularly low-cost and international carriers. AirTran Airways, which initially had trouble competing in Pittsburgh after beginning service in 2000, was finally able to successfully expand Pittsburgh offerings after the US Airways' cuts. In 2003, USA3000 Airlines began service to Florida and subsequently expanded to include international destinations in the Caribbean. Southwest Airlines began service to Pittsburgh in May 2005 and broke US Airways's monopolies on Tampa, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, along with bringing more competition to the Chicago and Orlando markets. JetBlue Airways began service on June 30, 2006 with flights to Boston-Logan and New York-Kennedy, thus in turn breaking US Airways' monopoly on Boston and added more competition to the New York market. Myrtle Beach Direct Air began service in March 2007 and broke US Airways's monopoly on Myrtle Beach. Combined increases in competition and diversification of carriers at the airport led to a decline in average airfares by roughly 30%, lowering notoriously high fares once commonplace for the airport.[13]

Airport Property Development

Aside from commercial flights, other resources in and around the airport have been developed in recent years. In November 2008, the airport, helped by the volunteer ambassadors, opened a new Military Comfort Center at Gate A4 to serve traveling military and their families. Dick's Sporting Goods constructed a new global headquarters and hangar on the airport complex in early 2010.[19] A major logistics center was constructed and opened in 2010.[20]

Since 1997, US Airways has maintained its OpsCenter in the metro Pittsburgh area. After the merger with America West the airline had two centers both with limited (pre-merger) capacity, the other being America West's inherited center near Phoenix. Pittsburgh International won a three way competition between Phoenix and Charlotte for the new combined airlines state of the art operations center.

In October 2007, US Airways announced that it had selected Pittsburgh as the site of its new flight operations center, which serves as the nerve center of the airline's 1,400 daily mainline flights[21]. The $25 million, facility on a far corner of Airport property began operations in November 2008. With a staff of over 600 specialists, it coordinates all arrivals, departures and inflight services in the global US Airways system 24 hours a day, seven days per week.[22]

Passenger complex

The airport complex consists of two main buildings, the "Landside Terminal" and the "Airside Terminal."

Pittsburgh's Landside Terminal. A portion of the numerous ticketing counters is visible.

Landside terminal

The landside terminal is the building closer to the parking areas and the entry point for passengers whose flights originate from Pittsburgh. It includes ticketing, all baggage claim areas, security checkpoints, and ground transportation such as taxi, limo, and bus service. A Hyatt Regency is directly attached via moving walkway to the terminal. Several shops and cafes occupy the Landside Terminal including Travelmart, Sue Venir, City of Bridges Cafe, and Travelex currency services. There are Travelers Aid desks on the transit and baggage claim levels as well as Airport Police Headquarters.

After passing through the security checkpoint, passengers board one of two underground people movers that travel to the Airside Terminal, where all departure gates are located. The people mover system was built and operated by Bombardier Transportation and is completely controlled by computer.


Calder's]] mobile in center. PIT offers on site parking operated by the Grant Oliver Corporation and patrolled by the Allegheny County Police. Grant Oliver offers usage of a GO FAST Pass account to pay for parking electronically at the airport. Go Fast Pass customers may register their E-Zpass transponders to use with the system, although billing and other aspects of the system are entirely handled by Grant Oliver.[23] There are regular parking shuttles to the Long Term and Extended lots[24] that can be accessed from the Baggage Claim level of the Landside Terminal outside doors six and eight.

There are three options for parking: Short Term, Long Term, and Extended. The Short Term garage is attached to the Landside Terminal via the enclosed moving walkway. There are 2,100 spaces available. The Long Term section also has quick access to the enclosed moving walkway. There are 3,100 spaces available here. The Extended section does not have access to the enclosed moving walkway but does have regular parking shuttles that can be accessed from the Baggage Claim level of the Landside Terminal outside doors six and eight. There are 8,000 spaces available in the Extended lot.[24]

Airside Terminal

The Airside Terminal consists of four concourses (A, B, C, D) that hold the departure gates.[25] The center core contains the majority of the AirMall shops. There are over 100 shops including large retailers such as GAP, Swarovski, Brighton Collectibles, Brooks Brothers, Body Shop, Godiva, Sam Adams Brewery, Lids, Ben & Jerry's, PGA Tour Shop, GNC, Brookstone, Charley's Steakhouse and Rite Aid. On the mezzanine level are the US Airways Club and a chapel. There are also Carnegie Science Center and other historic sites Pittsburgh Aviation History Displays located throughout the airport.

Gate A5 (Southwest)
Gate A5 (Southwest)

Concourse information

The airport has 75 gates on four concourses, however only 49 gates are currently available for use.

Concourse A

Concourse A has 25 gates: A1 A25, however only twelve gates are currently available for use: A1-A10, A12, & A14. The far end of the concourse has been closed off indefinitely. During US Airways hub operations, the airline utilized all 25 gates and operated a US Airways Club.

Concourse B

Interior of Concourse B. Concourse B has 25 gates: B26 B50, however only twelve gates are currently available for use: B26 B37. The far end of the concourse has been closed off indefinitely. Like Concourse A, US Airways had utilized all 25 gates during the days of its hub at the airport and a US Airways Club. Currently, US Airways maintains gates B26-B37, the only occupant in Concourse B. Although the US Airways Club in Concourse B closed, several concessionaires still operate in the concourse.

Concourse C

Concourse C has 11 gates: C51 C61. The concourse is utilized by Air Canada, AirTran, JetBlue, United (pre-merger flights), and USA3000, as well as Delta's international arrivals. All international arrivals, except for cities with United States border preclearance, pass through Concourse C as customs and immigration is located on its lower level. Gates C55, C57 and C59 C61 at the end of the concourse are designated to accommodate international traffic. Gate C61 includes a dual jetway to accommodate widebody aircraft, which was originally designed for US Airways' Airbus A330 and British Airways' Boeing 747. The concourse also includes a children's play area, and an exhibit commemorating Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, the long-running public television series which originated from Pittsburgh.[26]

Concourse D

Concourse D has 14 gates: D76 D89. The concourse is utilized by American, United (former Continental flights) and Delta.

Entry to Concourse D.
Entry to Concourse D.

Concourse E

Demolished arm of the E gates
Demolished arm of the E gates
Concourse E had 22 gates: E1 E22. Concourse E was a passenger terminal area connected to the airport's landside building and was formerly used for quick access to US Airways Express commuter aircraft. Following cuts in service by US Airways, all Concourse E gates have been closed to air traffic. A portion of the concourse has been demolished to make way for the new North Matrix baggage sorting facility for US Airways, and an additional parking lot for employees. The other part is for the alternate security checkpoint to cut long lines at the airport during peak travel times.

Airline lounges

US Airways has its US Airways Club on the mezzanine level of the airside terminal.[27] It is accessible by escalators in the center core area. Before a post-9/11 restructure of routes (effectively dehubbing Pittsburgh), US Airways had three clubs. The other two clubs were located on the upper levels of the A and B concourses. British Airways also had a lounge area in the C concourse during their transatlantic flight operations from Pittsburgh (1980s to late 1990s). Their lounge room is still there intact but now closed off.

Airlines and destinations


FedEx Express Airbus A300 plane parked at a cargo gate.
FedEx Express Airbus A300 plane parked at a cargo gate.
Pittsburgh boasts a small freight business, with a Free Trade zone of , access to three class-one railroad freight lines, one interstate highway, and a location just a few miles from the nation's second largest inland port.[28] The airport's three largest cargo carriers account for over 100 million pounds (45 million kg) of freight per year.[29] Three cargo buildings provide more than of warehouse capacity and over of apron space.[30]

LogisticsCentre, a master planned industrial park at the intersection of Business Route 60 and International Drive, is a North Field site to contain of Class A warehouse, distribution and air cargo space. Current tenants include Dick's Sporting Goods new world headquarters. It is located within Foreign Trade Zone #33.

Currently, the ACAA is in talks with 10 different airlines and freight forwarders in hopes to create a link to China for freight.

The following major cargo airlines have regular cargo service to and from PIT. Multiple destinations are served, the usual ones are noted:

Free Trade Zone

Pittsburgh International has designated as a Free Trade Zone including the airport's massive fuel farm.[28]

International Food Cargo Hub

The world's leading caterer for air and business, LSG SkyChefs in 2007 chose Pittsburgh as its sole Western Hemisphere manufacturing facility. It expanded its customer service center on the cargo side of the airport by and now employs over 100 people with the capacity of making nearly 25 million meals per year for distribution to flights all over the Americas.[31] LSG SkyChefs cited the region's strategic location for air and truck transport to major suppliers and customers, as well as the airport's excellent record in maintaining and expanding capacity.

"Silk Route" Trade

Pittsburgh has been eyed by Chinese business and industry as a key expansion point for a cargo super-highway modeled on the famed "Silk Road" of antiquity. In October 2009 Pittsburgh based retailer American Eagle Outfitters landed its first direct flight cargo plane (Boeing 747 300) from Asia at PIT. Cargo came from both South Korea and Vietnam and entered U.S. Customs at the airport.

In October 2010, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl along with his chief of staff, the president of the Allegheny Conference and officials from the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance were invited to speak in Shanghai, China and Seoul, South Korea at events highlighting global business and corporate trade, in large part touting the Pittsburgh region and its gateway airport.[32] Both UTI Worldwide (Shanghai)[33] and Wings Logistics (Hong Kong)[34] started once a week cargo flights from Asia to PIT in mid 2010. The flights have since ended.

Top routes and airlines

Top Ten Busiest Domestic Routes Out of PIT(March 2011 February 2012)[35]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, GA 436,000 AirTran, Delta
2 Charlotte, NC 332,000 US Airways
3 Philadelphia, PA 289,000 US Airways
4 Chicago, IL (ORD) 234,000 American, United
5 Orlando, FL 208,000 AirTran, Southwest
6 Chicago, IL (MDW) 186,000 Southwest
7 Boston, MA 179,000 JetBlue, US Airways
8 Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 160,000 American
9 Phoenix, AZ 154,000 Southwest, US Airways
10 New York, NY (JFK) 153,000 American, Delta, JetBlue
Top airlines at PIT by daily flights (March 2012)[36]
Rank Airline Average daily flights Top destination
1 US Airways 43 Philadelphia
2 Delta Air Lines 27 Atlanta
3 United Airlines 25 Chicago-O'Hare
4 Southwest Airlines 17 Chicago-Midway
5 AirTran Airways 13 Atlanta
6 United Airlines 13 Newark
7 American Airlines 12 Chicago-O'Hare
8 JetBlue Airways 5 Boston
9 Air Canada 3 Toronto-Pearson
Top airlines at PIT by passengers. (2009 Final)[37]
Rank Airline Passengers % Change % of Passengers
1 US Airways 2,296,561 20.3 28.73
2 Southwest Airlines 1,509,547 3 18.88
3 Delta Air Lines 1,369,010 8.04 17.13
4 United Airlines 778,606 0.7 9.74
5 Airtran Airways 664,457 20.02 8.31
6 American Airlines 430,819 4.5 5.39
7 JetBlue Airways 176,971 10.9 2.21
8 USA 3000 Airlines 108,456 40 1.36
9 Midwest Airlines 71,708 11.8 0.90
10 Air Canada 32,878 25.5 0.41
11 Direct Air 31,194 12.7 0.39

Includes Northwest Airlines
Includes SkyWest Airlines


Highway connections

PIT is located at Exit 53 of Interstate 376 and the Western Terminus Pennsylvania Route 576 (future I-576), and within of Interstate 79 and of Interstate 76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Interstate 70 to the south and Interstate 80 to the north are both less than an hour away. Just beyond Interstates 70 and 80, Interstate 77 to the west and Interstate 68 to the south are within 90 minutes of the airport.

Public transit

Bus service is also available from Downtown Pittsburgh and the city's University District (Oakland) via the Port Authority of Allegheny County's 28X Route. Mountain Line Transit's Grey Line also has service to areas south of Pittsburgh including Waynesburg, Pennsylvania; Morgantown, Fairmont, and Clarksburg, West Virginia.[38] BCTA Transit formerly served locations north and westbound from the airport.

Route Title Areas Served

Airport Flyer via West Busway

Universities, Downtown Pittsburgh, PIT

West Busway, Duquesne Incline, Downtown Pittsburgh, Point Park University, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland, Carnegie Mellon University

MountainLine Transit[38]

Morgantown, PIT, downtown Pittsburgh

Clarksburg, Fairmont, Morgantown, Waynesburg, PIT, downtown Pittsburgh

At present there is no rapid transit to Pittsburgh International Airport. Former Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato had hoped to eventually extend the Pittsburgh Light Rail system to the airport one day.[39] In 2009, Onorato along with Congressman Mike Doyle requested approximately $7 million in funding from the federal government for preliminary planning of the extension.[40] The Obama administration in 2009 also funded further research in the decade long proposal to install a Maglev line from Pittsburgh International east to Downtown Pittsburgh and the eastern suburbs of Monroeville, Pennsylvania and Greensburg, Pennsylvania. However, the assets from the planned maglev were auctioned off in late February of 2012.



Free wireless internet throughout a passenger terminal was a rarity when Pittsburgh International Airport launched the service on September 19, 2003, a service that has since been implemented at airports around the world.[41] Hand in hand with its technology prowess, the airport became the first in the world to offer fare alert emails on February 2, 2004.[42] The airport innovated proactive emails on airfare discounts by carrier and destination weekly. The service's success was recognized by the Airports Council International for Excellence in Marketing and Communications in 2007 as first place in North America.[43] Using another blessing of Wi-Fi technology, Pittsburgh International Airport also helped to innovate electronic parking at airports nationwide with its GoFastPass system a system similar to E-ZPass.[44]

AirMall concept

The AirMall at the airport also provided several world firsts in both featuring fair "street prices" to air travelers and being the first major and diverse shopping center located within an airport terminal when it opened in 1992 with over 100 name brand retailers.[45] Pittsburgh's AirMall has been internationally recognized for its retail operations, such as four straight first-place rankings by Airport Revenue News from 2003 through 2006.[46]

Upon opening in 1992, local shoppers were able to visit the AirMall without a boarding pass. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, only ticketed passengers and airport and airline employees were able to enter the AirMall. Business dropped considerably due to the tighter regulations, although business later re-gained to pre-9/11 levels.


Pittsburgh was one of the first airports to deploy dozens of portable defibrillators,[47] and developed the first volunteer ambassador program.[48][49] On April 17, 2007 PIT was chosen as one of three airports (along with DFW and Detroit) for a pilot program) to allow guests at the airport hotel to have terminal access to the AirMall. Guests at the Hyatt Regency were able to request security passes to be able to be screened at the security checkpoint and enter the AirMall.[50]

PIT has also shown excellence among carrier networks. Southwest Airlines had named its Pittsburgh base as the best in its system for 2006,[51] in its first full year of service at PIT. Among the factors in the award were on-time performance and efficient baggage service.


Airport maintenance has also claimed world firsts for PIT, developing one of the best winter weather operations in the nation with its unique front and rear deicing fleets and embedded runway sensors. The first use of the front discharge spray bars during winter weather was at Pittsburgh.[52] This innovative spirit among airport ground maintenance crews coupled with the abundance of runways and lengths, has given Pittsburgh the reputation in the industry as one of the few airports free of weather or winter delays.

Control Tower

The current control tower at the airport was completed in March 1985 as the tallest FAA owned tower at 227 feet for $12 million.


FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT
FAA Airport Diagram of KPIT
PIT's airfield features a wide, open layout and four runways, including three east-west parallel runways and a fourth crosswind runway. This configuration allows for the efficient flow of air traffic in nearly any wind condition. The airport's two longest runways are and in length, allowing PIT to accommodate even the largest of commercial aircraft. However, due to the development of non-aviation related business on airport land, PIT can add only one additional runway (this number was as high as four in the past).

With the availability of three parallel runways, simultaneous landings or departures can be performed in nearly any situation.[53] Runways 10R and 10L are equipped with Category III ILS (Instrument Landing System). Runway 28R is certified for Category II ILS (with special certification, otherwise Category I). Runways 28L and 32 have Category I ILS and Runways 10C/28C has LOC/GS.

The 1991 master plan done during the construction of the new midfield terminal complex for the hub operations of U.S. Airways called for the eventual addition of four runways giving the airport a total of eight. Along with a parallel second "crosswind" runway of 9,000 feet at the southwest corner of the complex, three additional parallel east-west runways of 8,200 and 8,500 feet were to be built on the southern end of the complex with an 8,200 foot runway on the northwest section. Runway 10 C was also planned to be extended to 10,039 feet and the C and D concourses were to be extended for an additional 10 gates each.

Additional operations

FAA Facilities

Although the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard maintain a great presence on that corner of the complex, the shuttering of some of the Air Force facilities in recent decades has led to the growth of a new tenant for that equipment at Pittsburgh. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken over much of the excess cold-war era infrastructure that the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard no longer needs, making Pittsburgh recently an important regional center for the agency.

General aviation

The new Business Aviation Center (FBO Avcenter), located at the site of the former airport terminal building, is a modern and full service facility for management of corporate air travel and general aviation. It includes a hangar, of flex office space, charter terminal facilities, conference rooms, passenger lounges, workout rooms, and a restaurant.[54] It is accessible by using Business I-376 in Moon Township.[55]

Fire school

The Allegheny County Airport Authority Fire Bureau operates a next-generation, state of the art Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) Training Center.

As an FAA regional training facility it comes equipped with a Boeing 757 mock-up offering realistic and challenging training. The simulated tail engine offers ARFF personnel critical high engine training scenarios. Adjacent to the first-training simulator is a four-story tower that houses the Computer Center ensuring consistent repeatable evolutions for each trainee and allows training to be conducted with the utmost safety of participants in mind. Being well within the airport boundary and designed to be in an area that minimizes distractions, the classrooms, management center, vehicle bay, trainee/equipment support areas and visitors center are located directly adjacent to the training grounds. This layout maximizes training time for students. The use of propane and control of water run-off combine to reduce environmental impact while providing quality occupational education for fire fighters, emergency responders and industrial personnel.[56]

The year round training facility offers specialized sessions in cold climate training evolutions. The system is propane fueled and computer controlled. It features a number of burn scenarios including:

Fictional portrayals

PIT has hosted major Hollywood productions, including:

Production Year Notes
The Song Remains the Same 1973 The old PIT (1952 1992) in a documentary of Led Zeppelin's 1973 tour. Many other Pittsburgh landmarks are also shown, including the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the Fort Pitt Bridge and Three Rivers Stadium.
Only You 1994 during the beginning of the film when Marissa Tomei's character rushes to the Airport to meet her soul mate and then flies to Venice
Houseguest 1995 when all characters are introduced into the film, Sinbad attempts to escape from the mob at the Airport landside terminal and convinces Phil Hartman and his family that he is his long last classmate.
The Young and the Restless March 1998 As a stand in for the fictional Genoa City International Airport.
Dogma 1999 during the opening scenes with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon as a stand in for a "Wisconsin Airport"
Wonder Boys 2000
Screwed 2000 With Dave Chappelle, Norm Macdonald, Sarah Silverman and Danny DeVito
The Daily Show 2002
King of Queens 2005 Episode: "Wish Boned"
Smart People 2008 With Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church
Zack and Miri Make a Porno 2008 [57][58]
She's Out Of My League 2010 Used during most airport scenes, others segments were simulated using Century III Mall located nearby.[59]
The Next Three Days 2010 Russell Crowe and Elizabeth Banks drama filming in the landside terminal at the "Canadian Southern Airlines" counter and at the airside terminal at the Southwest Airlines gates.

Aircraft accidents involving PIT

Date Flight/Airplane Description
July 28, 2011 Lockheed Martin "HAL-D" A U.S. Army/Lockheed Martin experimental "HAL-D" airship that took off at 5 am at Wright Patterson Air Force Base crash lands from 32,000 feet at 8:30 am south of the airport between New Freeport and Gilmore.
November 22, 2001 Corporate Learjet Crashed after a rapid takeoff in which it went "nose-high" before the Pilot Flying (PF) lost control, both on board were killed.
September 8, 1994 USAir Flight 427 Crashed on approach from Chicago O'Hare International Airport. All 132 people on board were killed. It resulted in the longest and most thorough NTSB investigation in world history. It was determined that a lock occurred in rudder control that caused the plane to fall uncontrollably from . Boeing has retrofitted every 737 because of the data gathered from this crash. The plane crashed roughly North-Northwest in Hopewell Township.
December 3, 1990 Northwest Airlines Flight 1482 Departing for Pittsburgh when it collided with Northwest Flight 299, a Boeing 727 at the intersection of Runways 09/27 and 03C/21C at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. The 727 departing for Memphis International Airport was on its takeoff roll when it collided with the DC-9 that was just taxiing onto the other runway. One of the causes of the incident was because of dense fog in the area. No one on the 727 was injured, but the DC-9 was completely destroyed.[60]
April 1, 1956 TWA Flight 400 It was a flight from Pittsburgh to Newark. It crashed about a half mile after taking off when the Captain and First Officer did not immediately correct a small engine malfunction/fire. Due to miscommunication and lack of focus it caused failure and a crash. Twenty-two of 36 occupants were killed.[61]
January 31, 1956 U.S. Air Force North American TB-25N Mitchell 44-29125, on cross country flight from Nellis AFB, Nevada to Olmsted AFB, Pennsylvania, after departing Selfridge AFB, Michigan suffers fuel starvation NE of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in mid-afternoon, attempts to divert to Greater Pittsburgh AFB, ditches in the Monongahela River at the marker, west of the Homestead High-Level Bridge, drifts ~ downstream in 8 10 knots. current, remaining afloat for 10 15 minutes. All six crew evacuate but two are lost in the water before rescue. Search for sunken bomber suspended February 14 with no success aircraft is thought to have possibly settled in submerged gravel pit area in of water, ~ from shore, possibly now covered by 10 15 feet of silt. This crash remains one of the Pittsburgh region's unsolved mysteries.[62]
December 22, 1954 DC-3 Military Charter
July 13, 1950 Private Plane

See also


External links

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