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Body scans don't diminish convenient solution for excess airport space

| Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, 12:06 a.m.
Travelers pass by a sign advertising the Airmall at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.
Keith Hodan | Trib Total Media
Travelers pass by a sign advertising the Airmall at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Friday, Sept. 12, 2014.

This idea could take local apartment living to lofty new heights.

Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis believes Pittsburgh International Airport is too large for the passenger loads it serves, and she suggested shrinking the number of gates. She did not indicate what would be done with the airport's excess space.

One possibility might be to close one of the airport's four concourses and consolidate gates in the other three. But how could that vacant space best be repurposed?

Subdividing it into residential use might prove popular, particularly among frequent business travelers. But how would the airport market the apartments on its website?

Perhaps like this:

Introducing Aviation Arms at Pittsburgh International Airport

Welcome to luxury living in reconfigured airport gate space! Each unit features elegant interiors with cherry cabinets, spectacular airport runway views and a moving sidewalk just outside the front door for quick transport to and from the Airmall hub.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does Aviation Arms have its own security staff?

A: The Transportation Security Administration polices Aviation Arms 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The protection the federal agency provides is well worth the minor inconvenience of tenants having to take off their shoes and submit to full body scans before entering the apartment complex.

Q: Is there a nearby grocery store?

A: Yes, three groceries are located within 2 miles of Aviation Arms. Additionally, several on-site newsstands provide a large selection of chips, candy, soda and the tri-state area's largest assortment of Pittsburgh-themed refrigerator magnets.

Q: Are there cultural attractions nearby?

A: Absolutely. Mere steps from Aviation Arms are life-size statues of George Washington and Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris catching the Immaculate Reception. There's also an incongruous Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton at the airside transit level, although dinosaurs were extinct long before the advent of air travel.

Q: If my neighbors are too loud, where do I complain?

A: Noisy neighbors are part of any community and usually will be understanding if approached politely about the problem. Just visit the customer service counter of any offending airline and ask them to please turn down the volume of their takeoffs. If that doesn't work, alert the TSA or the Federal Aviation Administration.

Q: Is there reserved parking?

A: Tenant parking is available outside their back door on the apron leading to taxiways. Although finding a Delta DC-7 in a tenant space is rare, when it does occur, tenants can remedy the situation as follows: Park farther down on the apron, wait for the plane to taxi off and in the future reserve the space in the manner to which locals are accustomed.

Put a lawn chair down in the middle of it.

Eric Heyl is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7857 or eheyl@tribweb.com.

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