PIT Blue Sky

State of the Airport: Many Ups and Few Downs

By Natalie Fiorilli
From announcing the return of British Airways nonstop service to London to welcoming the region’s first-ever nonstop flight from China and other key air service additions, 2018 was Pittsburgh International Airport’s most successful year in more than a decade.

On Wednesday evening, Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis will address regional business and community leaders on the “State of the Airport” at a reception Downtown.

So, what is the state of Pittsburgh International?

In four years, the airport has increased its number of nonstop destinations by more than 75 percent while experiencing five years of passenger traffic gains, highlighted by 9.66 million passengers traveling through PIT in 2018 – the most since 2007.

Additionally, PIT’s Cost Per Enplaned Passenger decreased for the sixth straight year, lowering the cost of doing business for airlines, as part of the authority’s 2019 budget. CPE is a benchmark used to compare an airport’s costs to airlines by calculating the total of all airport expenses to airlines and dividing it by the carriers’ number of departing passengers.

New Airport Terminal to Reflect Pittsburgh’s DNA

By Alyson Walls
Luis Vidal came to the Pittsburgh region the way many parents do – visiting colleges with his sons.

That was in 2015. Now, four years later, Vidal is the visionary architect behind Pittsburgh International Airport’s Terminal Modernization Program.

“I was impressed by how vibrant the city felt, how green it was, and how lively and welcoming the people were,” said Vidal, founder and executive president of luis vidal + architects. “I knew I would be back.”

In July 2018, Vidal, along with joint venture architectural and engineering firms Gensler and HDR, was selected to design the new terminal, which will consolidate PIT’s landside and airside operations into one facility adjacent to the current Airside Terminal.

Expected to open in 2023, the new terminal will be built between Concourses C and D and will improve the airport experience for nearly 10 million annual passengers.

To guide their work, the firms have been studying the region and taking inspiration directly from its rolling hills, rivers and green spaces, neighborhoods and communities, and the new economic diversity driving Pittsburgh’s renaissance.

PIT’s New Terminal to Showcase Local Artists

By Matt Neistein
The designers of Pittsburgh’s new, modern terminal hope that travelers will see it as a striking work of art.

But the new facility will also host an abundance of artwork, making it both a creation of Pittsburgh culture and a curator of that culture moving forward. For Rachel Rearick, arts and culture manager at Pittsburgh International Airport, that role is critical for the region’s burgeoning local arts community.

“We have a reputation as a growing technology hub, but we’re still making things,” she said. “Craft is having this renaissance, not just nationally, but globally.”

Rearick says work produced by local artists in a variety of media is another way of telling the story and identity of Pittsburgh. The Terminal Modernization Program includes ample space and opportunity to showcase that work to the millions of passengers moving through the airport each year.

A panel of experts created by the Allegheny County Airport Authority is reviewing PIT’s permanent art collection to analyze how it can enrich the new terminal, said Rearick, who recently completed the airport’s five-year arts and culture master plan.

The panel will make recommendations to the terminal design team, suggesting different ways to create spaces for artwork. While all options are on the table, Rearick said, some beloved current pieces and installations are extremely likely to be featured in the new terminal, although the panel may “more thoughtfully consider how to integrate them” into the new space.

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