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No Ticket, No Problem in Pittsburgh!

BobDDuck

Island Bus Driver
#41
PIT WAS CLT at one point. 450 departures a day and most of them Usair(ways). It is a shadow of its former self, but it's better than it was six or seven years ago. As a hub, it made no sense. But it was amazing when it was one..
It wasn't terrible as a hub. In the summer the big thunderstorms generally stayed south (mostly) and kept it running even after PHL and DCA (and CLT) went down. In the winter you could deice aircraft at a rate much greater than any other AAA hub. The two long parallels were great for launching and recovering traffic at the same time and 32 was a nice bailout if traffic got too tight when on west flow. Other than the giant bump in 28 (I think? It's been YEARS) the pavement was buttery and the airspace was uncrowded and simple. I flew trips out of there just after the decline started, but it was a great place to operate.
 

Max Power

Well-Known Member
#42
It wasn't terrible as a hub. In the summer the big thunderstorms generally stayed south (mostly) and kept it running even after PHL and DCA (and CLT) went down. In the winter you could deice aircraft at a rate much greater than any other AAA hub. The two long parallels were great for launching and recovering traffic at the same time and 32 was a nice bailout if traffic got too tight when on west flow. Other than the giant bump in 28 (I think? It's been YEARS) the pavement was buttery and the airspace was uncrowded and simple. I flew trips out of there just after the decline started, but it was a great place to operate.
I didn't say it was a bad airport, it just didn't make any sense as a hub. By the time they built the current terminal, Pittsburghs days as a manufacturing powerhouse were long in the past. Pittsburgh likes to think it's a bigger city than it is, but there isn't population here like PHL or any NYC airport. There wasn't a great influx of people to the region like CLT(the exact opposite). The airport is an excellent hub airport in its design , just in a city that doesn't make hub levels of traffic. Much the same story as any former airline hub. And with PHL an hour away (flying time)...

Pittsburgh lost a lot when Airways de-hubbed. About 10,000 jobs, plus many ancillary jobs. I don't know what this "shop at the airport" will do, especially due to TSA. But it'll be interesting to see how it goes.
 
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Max Power

Well-Known Member
#44
They used to validate parking so Moon Township residents would come to shop the Airmall around the holidays. Best airport in the country in the 90s.


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I was a teen when the current terminal opened and remember walking through it before it opened. It was like a "real" airport. Moving sidewalks! People movers! I vaguely remember the old terminal from being a kid and it was a patchwork of additions, sorely outdated by the late 80's. A shame they couldn't do anything with the original Art Deco part of the old terminal besides tear it down.

I was an airplane cleaner(line maintenance utility they called it) for Usairways from 2000-2002 and an F/A for Shuttle America in the SAAB days for a year. I remember when it was busy and the decline has been ugly. There's been a rebound of recent, with WOW Air and Condor, plus some EAS stuff run by Southern on Caravans.

But it will never reach it's former glory and there's talk of tearing down parts of the terminal and/or removing the landside terminal, removing the people movers and shifting the road network so that the Airside building is the entire terminal.
 

Bear

Well-Known Member
#45

Richman

Well-Known Member
#46
Yea, they already knocked down the E concourse some time ago, and they got half of the rest of the concourses blocked off.
 

Max Power

Well-Known Member
#47
Yea, they already knocked down the E concourse some time ago, and they got half of the rest of the concourses blocked off.
E gates is now the employee lot for airport employees and TSA. The entire terminal is open now, but most of B is not used except during diversions and even still it's rare. They reinvigorated C concourse for the new Condor, WOW service.
 

Max Power

Well-Known Member
#48
'a complex that was built to handle as many as 35 million passengers a year but which now accommodates about 8.3 million. .... estimated then that more than 25 of the airport’s 75 gates go unused ... Many of the gates, she has said, have become obsolete as technology has advanced.'
http://www.post-gazette.com/busines...-gates-american-airlines/stories/201708180107
View attachment 40129
Yep, we have an airport that's a hub, not what we need as a region. But we're paying for that hub. (I know it's not that cut and dried)
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
#49
Pittsburgh makes perfect sense for a hub because it is close enough to the eastern seaboard megalopolis to make for quick connections there, but far enough away to not suffer from all the congestion and weather induced delays. 40 minutes time en route to JFK and 30 to PHL, and DC area. Also we rarely get get hit by hurricanes or noreasters, and when we do it is never the full effect.
 
#50
Pittsburgh makes perfect sense for a hub because it is close enough to the eastern seaboard megalopolis to make for quick connections there, but far enough away to not suffer from all the congestion and weather induced delays. 40 minutes time en route to JFK and 30 to PHL, and DC area. Also we rarely get get hit by hurricanes or noreasters, and when we do it is never the full effect.
It was well situated as a hub for Allegheny Airlines primarily north / south connections. Even once they had incorporated PSA and Piedmont, USAir had very limited service west of the Mississippi compared with the other legacies. PIT never had the Origin/destination traffic to support the hub, but the USAir Express network fed in dozens of small towns in PA, NY, WV, and OH.

I have fond memories of growing up in the shadow of that airport, and then being based there for 3 different airlines later in my career.


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Max Power

Well-Known Member
#52
IPIT never had the Origin/destination traffic to support the hub, but the USAir Express network fed in dozens of small towns in PA, NY, WV, and OH.

I have fond memories of growing up in the shadow of that airport, and then being based there for 3 different airlines later in my career.


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Yeah, I'm familiar with Usair/Allegheny, my Dad was a mechanic starting in 1967. I get that it was leftover, as were many hubs and "focus cities". I'm just surprised it lasted as long as it did because of what you said. There was never enough originating traffic or people making Pittsburgh a destination to justify the cost of a hub.
 
#53
Yeah, I'm familiar with Usair/Allegheny, my Dad was a mechanic starting in 1967. I get that it was leftover, as were many hubs and "focus cities". I'm just surprised it lasted as long as it did because of what you said. There was never enough originating traffic or people making Pittsburgh a destination to justify the cost of a hub.
My Dad started there (Mohawk) in 67' also.


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#55
That is only part of it...USA/AWE was well established at PIT, so much so that the airport authority decided that they would never move, so they decided to implement a seat tax on all flights out of PIT, including connections. Well AWE told them to pound sand and moved the entire hub to CLT, hence the reason CLT has been booming. PIT has something like 60 open gates at any time, and the airport runs at less than 35% capacity. If PIT really wanted to attract more customers to the airport, they'd court airlines to have a bigger presence there, not chase them away with special taxes.
Hmm...pretty sure PIT had a lot more to do with consolidating ops to PHL, which is in the same state, than CLT, which was a huge hub since the Piedmont days coexisting with PIT. By the time of the US Airways/America West merger, PIT and US Airways already had beef over the fees and threats to wind down service had been made. The plug on PIT was pulled long before US Airways/America West even consolidated.

Wikipedia actually has some good info on the de-hubbing of PIT:
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,[22] while also paying roughly 80% of the new airport's $673 million debt stemming from its requested construction of the new terminals.[23]

After failed negotiations to lower landing fees and debt obligation, the airline announced in 2004 that it would be reducing operations at Pittsburgh, shifting hub operations to Charlotte and Philadelphia.[24] By the end of 2005 the airline had eliminated 7,000 jobs while operating roughly 200 flights per day, mostly domestic.[25] It ceased all service to Europe. A year later, US Airways had only about 170 flights per day to and from Pittsburgh, most being domestic flights.[26] Unrelenting flight and job cuts continued through the decade; accompanied by the airline's closure of Concourse E on the Landside Terminal and Concourse A on the Airside Terminal. By the end of the decade, US Airways had reduced to 68 flights per day, operating from ten gates on Concourse B, and one US Airways Clublocation. 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
 

Ecl!pse

Well-Known Member
#56
Look, you worked for them, I am not going to argue. I work at the county airport (not for the authority) and every time a business moves in or wants to move in the ACAA dreams up an additional fee to charge and they go away or they never start. Traveling out of PIT is down right depressing. Yeah, we have CFG and WOW now, but those are only a few times per week.
Cool, so you are over at AGC? Started my flight training at PFTC there many years ago. How'd you wind up with the Flyers logo/skyline in your avatar?

Reading through this thread makes me realize there probably needs to be a PIT meet & greet at some point. Seems to be lots of folks that either currently live in the area, or used to live in the area.
 

greg1016

Trustworthy Source
#59
Cool, so you are over at AGC? Started my flight training at PFTC there many years ago. How'd you wind up with the Flyers logo/skyline in your avatar?

Reading through this thread makes me realize there probably needs to be a PIT meet & greet at some point. Seems to be lots of folks that either currently live in the area, or used to live in the area.
Yep, AGC via ZNY (lol), originally from the Allentown area, Pitt Class of `08. PFTC is still around. I'd eventually like to get to PIT, but I may have to go to a smaller Up/Down to get my radar ticket first. I don't remember the exact story of the avatar, I changed it during some sort of sports discussion around here a couple years ago.

I'd certainly be up for a meet and greet sometime if we get a few people together.
 
#60
I didn't say it was a bad airport, it just didn't make any sense as a hub. By the time they built the current terminal, Pittsburghs days as a manufacturing powerhouse were long in the past. Pittsburgh likes to think it's a bigger city than it is, but there isn't population here like PHL or any NYC airport. There wasn't a great influx of people to the region like CLT(the exact opposite). The airport is an excellent hub airport in its design , just in a city that doesn't make hub levels of traffic. Much the same story as any former airline hub. And with PHL an hour away (flying time)...

Pittsburgh lost a lot when Airways de-hubbed. About 10,000 jobs, plus many ancillary jobs. I don't know what this "shop at the airport" will do, especially due to TSA. But it'll be interesting to see how it goes.

A 2-hr driving circle from PIT encompasses a huge swath of population. You're talking Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Youngstown, other eastern Ohio, western PA including Erie. And parts of central PA. Down south, West Virginia and parts of Maryland.

The final nail in the coffin was the Allegheny county airport board authority. US Airways asked for less landing fees and gate lease costs.

Lots of interesting reading in achive for USairways.com...............

https://web.archive.org/web/2004060...irways.com:80/about/press_2003/nw_03_0917.htm


Q&A
https://web.archive.org/web/2004061...irways.com:80/about/press_2003/pit_hub_qa.htm

Economic study pdf file:
https://web.archive.org/web/2004061...s.com:80/about/press_2003/economic_impact.pdf


Key findings:
https://web.archive.org/web/2004061...bout/press_2003/pit_hub_keystudy_findings.htm



All interesting reading!