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PghUSA

Fifth runway for PIT?

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With all the activity buzzing around Pittsburgh International airport, as well as within its very large grounds (large enough to fit O'Hare and Hartsfield Jackson well within its land area with room to spare), shouldn't the airport authority get serious about getting the fifth runway built, maybe even a sixth.

Although I am sure that land is being reserved for it, what concerns me is that neighborhoods around the flight/approach paths are being built in West Allegheny as well as tennants are moving into the airport area somewhat based on current flight/approach paths. Plus if construction costs are any indication getting a fifth and sixth built now would save millions compared to ten years from now (look at the "missing ramp" 79/279 inflated costs compared to if they built it in the 70s).

Also I would like to see PIT expand their current runways some, why stop 1000-1500 feet away from where 60 is, especially considering much of 60 is in a hollow making airtraffic come in high high high above the roadway when in landing mode.

I see PHL expanding runways and getting set for a new one to be completed in a few years, and wonder what PIT is waiting around for, if anything the time to build is BEFORE you have the traffic, congestion and construction closures, delays. I'd love to see PIT expand out to 3 12,000 footers and add a fifth maybe even a sixth.

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Why would the airport need this kind of space considering that it is not a hub anymore?

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USAirways, which dates its birth back to Pittsburgh, was a second-rate airline for most of aviation's golden era (pre-1980)--similar to being a hub for Hooters Air today--and even then the future was percolating for hub status, which goes to prove if you have the capability do it, plan big. Maybe I am just too much of a Doug Foerester fan, but that's how I see it.

PIT is probably the most attractive airport in the country to start an innovative new airline, with close to 90% of the population within a 2 hour flight time, clear approach paths unencumbered by the tortuous

NE corridor and O'Hare/Midway/Mitchell zone, and an airport that is 2nd in the world to Shanghai's and first in the U.S. according to many sources, most importantly with room to grow--something many airports from LAX to O'Hare to JFK, LGA, NWR, PHL, DCA etc. can't claim.

Stats are great but the practical implications are even greater on PIT.

Just 18 months ago the so-called "new JetBlue" (Project Roam) chose PIT as it's launching pad for world domination :lol:, the deal fell through with some investors backing out, but it is a strong sign that any new innovative airline coming out is looking at PIT's easy access to the MW, SE and NE without the NE corridor horror stories or the Atlanta or ORD-MDW black holes.

The now defunct I-Air and Hooters putting PIT at the top of their startup list, as well as Midwest Air's using PIT as it's NE entry point are also strong signs that it is just a matter of time till PIT might be as boxed in as LAX unless they also reserve space for runway extensions and a sixth runway. I say the investment is worth it!

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The problem with PIT is that it was built as a hub airport right ebfore the airlines decided that hubbing was out of style. It seems that the only successful hubs nowadays (JFK, EWR, PHL, IAD, ATL, MIA, DFW, HOU, ORD, MSP, DTW, SFO, LAX) are the ones from which (due to local demand and the number of passengers they can accumulat through teh hub) the hub airline is capable of launching a pelthora of international flights. Hubs for intra-continental flights (PIT, STL, CLE, DEN, IND, CMH) have not fared well in the era where every city in the US can be connected by one flight. The one intra-continental flight hub that seems to have bucked the trend is CVG (Cincinatti-Northern Kentucky) but that seems to be because Delta has managed to make it a successful international hub as well. Unfortuntaely for PIT, PIT is not Midwestern enough to pull off a CVG and be a Midwestern international hub and it is too far from the East Coast to compete with the East Coast hubs for international traffic.

By the way, the code for Newark is not NWR bur EWR. No US airport codes begin with N, K, or W since N is reserved for plane registrations and K and W are reserved for broadcast call signals. Hence Reagan Washington National is DCA (not WAS). Dulles is IAD (not WAS). Newark is EWR. Kansas City is MCI. Wilmington, DE is ILG.

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That's right EWR, my bad, frankly I try to stay as far away as possible from Newark, haven't heard much good about them since my last bad experience there in the early 90s.

Delta has used Cincy for it's northern link ups (as well as Newark I believe), but I was unaware that Cincy had much international traffic. I wasn't much impressed with CVG when I flew through there in early 2001, they used a tram to transport us from terminal to terminal but then again it was a ComAir managed Delta flight from PIT so it might have been through the "commuter terminal". I was surprised to learn that the 16 year old girl traveling with her family up front on the open air gas powered tram was well versed in using "BFE" to describe the welcome there, I know her age caused I was surprised kids that young even knew to use that term. I was always under the impression Delta got roped into CVG because they bought or dealt with ComAir which had that as their base. Maybe they have improved it mightly after 9/11 but I wasn't the only one who wondered aloud how that could be a "hub" airport.

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Wow I just put down two major airports, don't I sound spoiled, in all honesty I have flown mostly out of PIT, DTW's Northwest Terminal, MCO, ATL and TPA since 9/11, (yeah my adventuring days have subsided for the time being) all very nice airports, four of them being on the annual "best airports for flyers" rankings or however you call it. So yes I do appreciate more then just PIT. MCO needs some of the PIT people movers inside their terminal though--bad! DTW's Northwest Terminal (I think that's what they call it) was probably the best I've ever seen, the only one I wish PIT would be more like in some ways.

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That's right EWR, my bad, frankly I try to stay as far away as possible from Newark, haven't heard much good about them since my last bad experience there in the early 90s.

Delta has used Cincy for it's northern link ups (as well as Newark I believe), but I was unaware that Cincy had much international traffic. I wasn't much impressed with CVG when I flew through there in early 2001, they used a tram to transport us from terminal to terminal but then again it was a ComAir managed Delta flight from PIT so it might have been through the "commuter terminal". I was surprised to learn that the 16 year old girl traveling with her family up front on the open air gas powered tram was well versed in using "BFE" to describe the welcome there, I know her age caused I was surprised kids that young even knew to use that term. I was always under the impression Delta got roped into CVG because they bought or dealt with ComAir which had that as their base. Maybe they have improved it mightly after 9/11 but I wasn't the only one who wondered aloud how that could be a "hub" airport.

Delta has international flights out of CVG to London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam. Air France has a flight also from CVG to Paris. For the msot part, I think it is the ComAir connection that keeps Delta there. However, they managed to spin that traffic into servicing several international flights as well which means that CVG will stay. If PIT had those flights (it did at one point - with teh exception of Amsterdam), it would still be a hub. The problem with PIT is it was in never never land between the Midwest and the East Coast and thus couldn't serve as an effective international hub for either.

As for Delta at EWR, I don't think they have much of a presence there. What you're probably seeing are code-share flights with their partner Continental. Continental has a major hub at EWR.

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PIT does not need to even think about anymore runways until they get the passenger counts way up. I saw a top twenty list of airports for the US last week. PIT was not on the list and it went all the way down to airports that had 17,000,000 passengers a year. Since PIT is no longer a hub the passenger counts must have really dropped. Anyone have an idea what the average annual passenger count is now??? I think you'll find most airports with four runways handle in the neigborhood of 30,000,000 or more passengers a year. I believe in planning for the future, but I'm guessing you would need to double capacity at PIT before even thinking about adding a fifth or sixth runway.

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Since USEless Airways is focusing on Charlotte (for its Southern location/access), PIT doesn't appear to be on their radar for much of anything anymore. Additionally, the added flights makes Charlotte more likely to get int'l flights then PIT.

It just sucks. PIT is an incredible airport and now it just sits... it also sucks for the local economy and for local access to direct flights.

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Facilities, I agree with you, but big CAUTION on those lists, PIT is transitiioning from hub to originiation traffic during many of the "snapshot" periods of those surveys, this was right after USAir slashed 50% but before Southwest, Hooters, IAir, Midway, and the mainlines either increased # of flights or made a dent on the local originiation traffic especially with customers in E. Ohio. With JetBlue arriving in a matter of weeks these #s will only increase, again none of this will replace the connecting traffic (something that allows a small city like Cincy to boast Intl. flights albeit monolopolized intl. flights) but the #s are in no way as bad as some of these surveys would let on.

PIT had a 50% cut in connecting traffic while most in the exburbs and flight discount hunters either stayed away or went elsewhere before those Iairs, Hooters and Southwests settled in to PIT for the long term.

Best traffic stats are from the actual site at www.flypittsburgh.com

Point that I think all should be left with though is how close Pittsburgh came to Southwest 3.0 or JetBlue 2.0 with ProjectRoam a year ago, I see urbans point that we are neither midwest or eastcoast but I think that is more an advantage, especially given that only JFK or O'Hare in this region has the kind of potential capacity we do, for an upstart airline. IAir, Midwest and Hooters putting PIT at the top of their list also bodes well for the future. All we need now is that JetBlue 2.0 to launch.

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PGHUSA

Thanks for the link to www.flypittsburgh.com. I'm a statistics buff and like checking out the numbers. It looks like the passenger traffic count peaked about five years ago @ 20,000,000. I'd say the fourth runway was already planning for a future that didn't arrive. The passenger traffic count has dropped since then and is still trending down. With Southwest coming to market that should increase a little but without a draw increasing traffic or another hub what would increase the passenger count significantly enough to warrant more runways? I just don't see the need without a major hub. Charlotte has become the secondary hub in the Southeast because Atlanta has become so crowded. I don't see Pittsburgh becoming a hub again because of location. It's both too far and too close to both the midwest and Eastern seaboard to be a big hub. The only way I see Pittsburgh being a hub again is if another airline located their headquarters in Pittsburgh and made it their base of operations. JMO.

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I think your assesment couldn't be more correct facilities, but I think the chance of Pittsburgh indeed landing that hq and all the hub, transatlantic and connecting traffic that comes with it is very very good. Iair and Hooters both sprouted up at their predetermined corporate homes but added "Pittsburgh" among the first destinations. I feel that the airport sells itself in so many ways, the economy is not conducive at this moment for JetBlue 2.0 or even Southwest 3.0 ( I consider JetBlue Southwest 2.0) but when it is Pittsburgh will be a top 3 pick to host the hq traffic of it. The ONLY drawback is the lagging population figures here, although your point about too close and too far is relative to other carriers establishing an outpost hub here, a brand new airliner would see the too close yet too far as an added advantage at PIT.

In the mean time more and more people are making the drive from E. Ohio even C. Ohio and SW NY State, a drive they would have never ever made with USAirways death grip on high prices at PIT. So origination traffic will continue to grow to record levels, only thing is connecting traffic was always 50x more then even what the tri-state or quad-state could muster with origination.

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When the USAirways hub existed you'd think the prices would have been cheaper because of the number of flights. Without competition though the incentive for cheap flights is not there. It's amazing what old fashioned competition does for prices. Even though traffic is down prices are better now. Southwest PIT to MCO in January $39.00 each way. Couldn't believe that price.

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don't forget Airtran, I still rememberwhen they started the discount ball rolling a few years back.

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I agree with PghUSA. The airport should expand runways now while the investment is cheaper than a decade from now.

We're sure to see bigger, faster, more efficient jets than now. They will change what it means to have a successful business model and make a lot of modern-day airports obsolete. You'll need a lot more smaller connecting flights arriving within a short amount of time and fewer, but bigger international flights. This means the need for more runways and longer runways - not merely to serve more customers, but to do it faster and more cheaply. The major hubs will need to rely on auxiliary airports and mass transit to fill these planes and still serve all their long distance destinations, even if they manage to expand runways. We're also looking at a lot of up and coming economies that are creating new destinations further away than the traditional routes. We're already seeing with the One International Center a sign of times to come. Some of the biggest aerospace companies are making huge bets on this, so why shouldn't PIT?

But in addition to expanding runways, I will add to the shopping list every possible way of squeezing every last customer in the region to the airport. Light rail connections to Century III, Oakland, and Downtown that also integrate Amtrak and Greyhound are definitely needed. A maglev all the way out to Greensburg and someday hopefully Erie. We can't simply assume that every potential passanger in the region can drive in form 20 miles away and put their car in long term parking. We should really be looking to make long distance travel as cheap as possible for as many people as we can. Also, we need to resolve the whole chicken or the egg problem with hotel space at the convention center and every other area where politicians are fumbling the ball on tourism. When we have all this, Pittsburgh will once again be an undisputed heavyweight fighter in the world economy. I think we can do it cheaper and better than virtually any other city if our politicians stop messing around with silly turnpike projects and start to actually think big.

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Since USEless Airways is focusing on Charlotte (for its Southern location/access), PIT doesn't appear to be on their radar for much of anything anymore. Additionally, the added flights makes Charlotte more likely to get int'l flights then PIT.

Charlotte already has non-stops to London, Frankfurt, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico City, Cancun, and a 21 destinations in the Carribean. For a while, they had Paris too.

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I agree with PghUSA. The airport should expand runways now while the investment is cheaper than a decade from now.

We're sure to see bigger, faster, more efficient jets than now. They will change what it means to have a successful business model and make a lot of modern-day airports obsolete. You'll need a lot more smaller connecting flights arriving within a short amount of time and fewer, but bigger international flights. This means the need for more runways and longer runways - not merely to serve more customers, but to do it faster and more cheaply. The major hubs will need to rely on auxiliary airports and mass transit to fill these planes and still serve all their long distance destinations, even if they manage to expand runways. We're also looking at a lot of up and coming economies that are creating new destinations further away than the traditional routes. We're already seeing with the One International Center a sign of times to come. Some of the biggest aerospace companies are making huge bets on this, so why shouldn't PIT?

But in addition to expanding runways, I will add to the shopping list every possible way of squeezing every last customer in the region to the airport. Light rail connections to Century III, Oakland, and Downtown that also integrate Amtrak and Greyhound are definitely needed. A maglev all the way out to Greensburg and someday hopefully Erie. We can't simply assume that every potential passanger in the region can drive in form 20 miles away and put their car in long term parking. We should really be looking to make long distance travel as cheap as possible for as many people as we can. Also, we need to resolve the whole chicken or the egg problem with hotel space at the convention center and every other area where politicians are fumbling the ball on tourism. When we have all this, Pittsburgh will once again be an undisputed heavyweight fighter in the world economy. I think we can do it cheaper and better than virtually any other city if our politicians stop messing around with silly turnpike projects and start to actually think big.

Blue, excellent points, the changing industry (tiger economies and gulf economies coming on-line, the biggest hugest jet that can fly race going on with Boeing and Airbus--a competition that hasn't gone on since the early 1970s) angle is a very relevant one that has not been discussed yet. I do feel that airports that although nice and modern but woefully obsolete with their runways and landlocked status, like Philly and LAX and MIA, are going to soon go the way of the buggy whip, or as you put it serve as regional feeders.

When put that way PIT goes from an airport that is strong and has much room to grow to one that is barely holding on, if cities like Philly, LA and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale decide to build what Denver did a few years ago, an airport with 5 12,000 footers and 1 16,000 footer, with room to expand. If LAX moves into the wildes between LA and San Diego, if Southern NJ decides to build a massive aircity across from Philly, PIT would be percieved then as PHL is today, a nice LITTLE airport.

Time to step up, I also like the idea of connecting Eire and Greensburg/Johnstown to the airport as well as the WV Panhandle and some E. Ohio cities.

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