Pittsburgh Airport Says Diverse Airline Mix Fuels Growth

Pittsburgh airport
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Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) in Pennsylvania expects to see passenger numbers exceed 2019 levels this year, pointing to 17 new routes either launched or announced in 2023.

PIT handled 9.2 million passengers in 2023, up 13.3% year-over-year and 94% of 2019 levels. Airlines are expected to serve 61 destinations from PIT this year, with more than 130 peak-day winter departures and more than 160 daily summer departures.

Southwest Airlines was the leading carrier at PIT in 2023 with a 24.8% passenger market share. American Airlines followed closely with a 22.8% market share. In total, 14 airlines operated flights from PIT last year.

More than 20% of PIT’s 2023 passenger traffic was provided by carriers other than the U.S. "Big Four" (American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest and United Airlines). This is “directly tied to the airport’s focus on diversifying its air service portfolio to accommodate different market segments,” PIT says in a summary of its 2023 figures.

Last year, for example, Breeze Airways launched service from PIT to Los Angeles, New Orleans and Portland, Maine. The carrier is set to commence 2X-weekly Airbus A220-300 service between PIT and San Diego from May 3.

“Increasingly, passengers are utilizing non-legacy carriers for their travel,” PIT says.

Additionally, Spirit Airlines opened PIT-Miami flights in 2023, and American started serving Cancun, Mexico.

According to PIT, Southwest in 2023 added capacity on routes connecting PIT to Austin, Texas; Denver; and Phoenix. United added capacity to San Francisco, while Spirit added capacity to Las Vegas.

British Airways in 2023 upped its service between PIT and London Heathrow from 4X-weekly to 6X-weekly. Icelandair plans to start serving PIT from Reykjavik 4X-weekly on a seasonal basis in May.

Those developments are “a strong indicator of the market’s growing appeal to international carriers,” PIT says.

The airport notes airlines have scheduled 2.8 million seats to be offered from PIT during the first quarter, which would be 0.9% higher than the 2019 first quarter. Airlines are expected to operate 10% more capacity in the 2024 summer versus the 2019 summer, PIT says.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.