Seattle. San Francisco. Los Angeles. Alaska. United. Southwest. Spirit.

For developers and deal-seekers, new and expanded nonstop service from Pittsburgh to major West Coast cities will provide a critical link for the region’s burgeoning tech industry – and major tech companies are noticing.

Home to heavy-hitters, including Google, Uber and Facebook, along with successful startups like Duolingo and Argo AI, Pittsburgh’s tech-forward economy continues to grow and diversify, alongside demand for flights to and from Silicon Valley.

Airport officials have been working with business leaders on increasing service to the West Coast. Results have come with recent announcements including a second daily flight to San Francisco on United which begins June 7, as well as new nonstop service to Seattle on Alaska Airlines, which begins Sept. 6.

These additions complement popular nonstop service already offered to Los Angeles on Southwest and Spirit.

“This is a major win for our region, for both passengers and businesses,” said Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority. “Increased service to the West Coast has been a top priority, and we are thrilled to add nonstop service to Seattle and additional nonstop service to San Francisco as part of our growing portfolio.”

“Pittsburgh’s tech-forward economy continues to grow and diversify, alongside demand for flights to and from Silicon Valley. ”

Prior to the announcements, Seattle was Pittsburgh’s largest unserved market nonstop for passengers.

Among those passengers are several Pittsburgh-based Duolingo employees who work remotely out of Seattle, according to Michaela Kron, Senior Public Relations Manager of Duolingo.

“We’re looking forward to the upcoming direct flights between Pittsburgh and Seattle, as this will greatly streamline (Duolingo employees) travel when they visit,” Kron said. “Direct flights between Pittsburgh and San Francisco will also be very helpful because some of Duolingo’s investors are based in the Silicon Valley, and members of our team often travel there for meetings and conferences. Overall, it’s great to know that travel between Pittsburgh and these other major tech hubs will soon become easier and more convenient.”

In addition to benefiting Pittsburgh-based businesses like Duolingo, the flights will be an important asset for companies with offices located across the country, including tech-powerhouse Google.

For Google, which has more than 500 full-time Pittsburgh employees at its offices in Bakery Square, additional service to San Francisco will offer a connection to its Bay Area headquarters.

“We’re glad to see Pittsburgh International Airport continue to expand accessibility to other tech hubs across the country and overseas,” said Liz Schwab, who heads Google Pittsburgh’s External Affairs. “This is an exciting step for Pittsburgh as our community continues to grow and thrive, and provides even more opportunities for innovation and exchange of ideas. It’s been great to see organizations across all industries come together to help push this effort forward.” 

Including new service to important West Coast connections, Pittsburgh International expanded its nonstop service portfolio to 74 nonstop destinations on 17 carriers. Additionally, the airport had its busiest year in over a decade in terms of passenger traffic – serving nearly 9 million passengers in 2017.