Pittsburgh Airport has been very aggressive with its plans to try and attract more direct flights to the city from foreign destinations. Earlier this year they announced the partnership with China Eastern Airlines (to attract lucrative Chinese tourists), to charter two planes to Shanghai and back again.
How much did it cost the Pittsburgh Airport authority?
$560,000 (Plus marketing support).
And it hasn’t stopped there, with the airport authority out-laying millions more to attract other airlines to run services to their airport.
- Alaska Airlines $500,000 over two years to offer nonstop flights from Seattle this September
- WOW Air $800,000 over two years to offer flights from Reykjavik
- Condor $500,000 over two years to offer seasonal flights from Frankfurt
- Up to $1.5 million to Qatar Airways for their twice-weekly cargo service from Doha
And it seems to have paid off, with the airport getting its first year-round transatlantic flight to London Heathrow for the first time in history (there used to be direct flights between Pittsburgh and London Gatwick until 2004, serviced by US Airways who are now no more).
This is a year-round route and not seasonal, unlike the route that Delta operates to Paris that is only available in the summer months
What are the details?
Between London Heathrow and Pittsburgh, British Airways will be running for four flights a week starting on 2nd April in 2019. The flight will be flying every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, with the outbound flight from London arriving the same night it departs, but the return flight being overnight, arriving at 10 AM the following day.
This is a year-round route and not seasonal, unlike the route that Delta operates to Paris that is only available in the summer months.
The expected flight time is at an average of around eight hours.
They will be using a brand-new Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner that has 214 seats on board (154 economy, 25 premium economy and thirty-five business class seats).
It is very likely that to secure this deal Pittsburgh airport authority paid an awful lot of money (rumoured to be 1.5 million over two years) to British Airways (which would go to marketing the trips across the Atlantic).
And it’s likely it was not just cash either, the incentives could include waving landing fees, taxes, or other additional support. However, the airport is more than delighted by this announcement:
“We are thrilled to have British Airways serving our region nonstop to London once again, Thank you to British Airways for selecting Pittsburgh and recognizing that our region is back.”
Christina Cassotis, Pittsburgh International Airport CEO
As part of the marketing plan to this new route, British Airways have made it very easy to redeem points on this flight for seats, opening up two business class seats and four economy seats per flight.
As someone who has never been to Pittsburgh, it’s hard to see the appeal, but for plenty of tourists that are living around the region, this route now offers a quick and easy way to fly to one of Europe’s best destinations.