The head of the Allegheny County Airport Authority gave an upbeat address to the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce this morning. Even though the airport is under-utilized since it was designed as a hub for US Airways and 32 million passengers a year, Executive Director/CEO Brad Penrod says the airport operates on a self-sufficient basis without taxpayer funds and will pay off its debt by May, 2018. As a result, its bond rating is better than it’s ever been.
Penrod says the airline industry today has moved toward point-to-point flights, with hubs only in major population centers, which Pittsburgh is not. Should that change, e.g., because of congestion in the East, the airport aggressively markets its availability to all airlines.
Penrod says passenger growth is above the national average and ticket prices below.
Pittsburgh is a strong “origin and destination” market, says Penrod, with 37 non-stop cities, and he encourages people to use the direct flights to Paris so Delta Airlines will continue the international service.
Marcellus Shale activity brings passengers into and out of the airport and may lead to revenue from drilling on the property since technology allows the equipment to remain well away from airport operations.