ShareThis Page

Cut airline fees will draw flights to Pittsburgh International in time, congressman says

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Federal and county officials said on Monday that reduced airline fees at Pittsburgh International Airport will take time to attract flights, but will make the airport more competitive.

“I believe that over time, more flights will be here. You have to give it time. The airlines want to see what's going to happen. They want to see it's for real,” said U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Shuster was one of six Pennsylvania congressmen who attended an event at the airport in which County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that airline fees at Pittsburgh International will drop, reducing the airlines' average cost per passenger by 3.8 percent, or 55 cents, to $14.11.

That is almost double the $7.33 median for airports rated by Moody's Investors Service. Pittsburgh's largest carriers, US Airways and Southwest Airlines, said last week they have no plans to add flights.

Airport Authority officials on July 1 began using part of the $46.3 million in upfront money the authority got from Cecil-based Consol Energy Inc. to lease natural gas drilling rights on the airport's 9,263 acres. The drilling deal, which officials finalized in February, could generate about $500 million for the airport authority, based on county estimates.

“It's all part of a comprehensive package. Certainly, the airlines said that our fees are higher than the average and this is part of bringing those in line,” Fitzgerald said. “We never expected the (drilling money) would be a panacea.”

Pittsburgh served about 8 million passengers last year, down from 8.7 million in 2008 before the recession began and from 19.8 million in 2000, when the airport served as a bustling hub for US Airways.

Consol President Nicholas DeIuliis said the public will be able to follow drilling updates on the company's and the airport's websites within a few weeks. Drilling is expected to start in about a year, he said.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me