With numbers on the rise, demand for Pittsburgh International Airport flights reaches new level

Air traffic is surging at Pittsburgh International Airport, with carriers offering more seats as they see more demand.

A report from the Allegheny County Airport Authority released last week said 2023 numbers have surpassed 2019 levels, the first time since the pandemic that airlines are offering more seating capacity.

Airport spokesman Bob Kerlik says there are two main reasons for this trend.

“We’ve seen robust leisure traffic here at the airport over the last couple years since the pandemic. People want to get out of their houses, they want to travel and go on vacation, and secondly, it’s business travel, it’s coming back,” Kerlik said.

For frequent flyer Kathleen Smith, connecting through the Pittsburgh International Airport while traveling for work is a welcomed stop home.

“I’m on probably two planes a week, and the flights are absolutely packed. People are just having a good time. They just want to live their lives,” Smith said.

It’s a positive trend in the industry, as both airlines and flyers continue to deal with recent challenges, including crew shortages, lost luggage and flight cancellations. Some flyers we spoke with said they’ve learned to adjust.

“I do try to travel with carry-on bags, so I don’t have to worry about picking up luggage or luggage getting lost,” said Jim Mitnick of Pittsburgh.

The airport said its carriers, like British Airways, Frontier and Spirit, are continuing to expand.

“Alaska Airlines added their second daily [flight] to Seattle, United added a second daily [flight] out to San Francisco, we see Breeze continue to grow,” Kerlik said.

Flyers like Smith are hoping to see even more direct flights over time.

“When I have to go to New Orleans, I have to take all day to do that. It’s tough. That’s a vacation day out of that I want to spend with my family,” Smith said. “I would love to see more, plus this is a world-class city. We should have more direct flights to Europe and to these major destination ports.”

The Pittsburgh International Airport has seen more than 6 million passengers so far this year.

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