Direct flights to Birmingham, Memphis, Hartford coming to Pittsburgh airport
New year, new airline.
That was the message officials had Wednesday when they announced a new carrier would be adding three new nonstop flights from Pittsburgh International Airport in the coming months.
“It’s a perfect match,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Via Airlines will be adding direct flights to Birmingham, Ala.; Memphis, Tenn., and Hartford, Conn. The Memphis flights will also continue on to Austin, Texas, providing one-stop service there.
“We’re delighted to be adding three more markets, and we’re excited to be working with Via,” Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis said.
It adds three new mid-sized markets to the airport in cities the airport once served, she said.
Via, based in Maitland, Fla., is a privately held company with 150 employees and 10 aircraft. It has a two-decade history and operates in 19 cities across the country. It expects to double both its employee roster and fleet within the next year, Don Bowman, the company’s director of business development, said.
About 10 employees will be based at the Pittsburgh airport, Fitzgerald said.
The flights will start April 4 to Birmingham, June 24 to Memphis and July 23 to Hartford. One-way fares to each city start at about $100, according to Via’s website.
Each of the cities are mid-size markets that are the type of cities the airport needs to offer service to, Cassotis said.
This sentiment was echoed by Bill Flanagan, chief corporate relations officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.
When companies ask if they can “get there from here,” it’s important to be able to say “Yes,” Flanagan said.
“It’s really cool to have an established airline like Via to come into the market and add these communities,” Flanagan said.
The locations are logical markets for Pittsburgh because of U.S. Steel’s ties to the region and its operations near Birmingham and Apple’s expansion plans to its Pittsburgh operations and plans to locate a hub in Austin, Flanagan said.
“We know how important these markets are,” Fitzgerald said.
Airport officials said Via will receive some marketing incentives. They did not offer details, because the deal has not been finalized.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-487-7208, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @TribDavidson.