Twenty-five years after its midfield terminal opened, Pittsburgh International Airport is primed for a $1.1 billion transformation, one that includes a new building for ticketing and security, a new parking garage and a streamlined boarding facility. The plan includes a new “landside” terminal where passengers would arrive to the airport and proceed to a modern check-in concourse.
Further, the update would eliminate the need for the “people mover” train that Pittsburgh passengers currently must use to go between the existing “landside” and “airside” terminals. The latter is the post-security terminal that’s home to most of Pittsburgh’s boarding gates as well as its beloved “Airmall” shopping area.
Renderings released by the airport show the new landside terminal would be blended in to an existing area of the existing airside facility, essentially consolidating them. Two-dozen of the airport’s current 75 gates would be eliminated. Pittsburgh says only 39 of the gates are currently being used.
The plan unveiled Tuesday amounts to the ultimate makeover for a terminal opened as a US Airways hub in 1992 but one that now serves less than half the traffic and has more gates than it needs.
Under the proposed modernization, the current landside building would be abandoned, the tram that hauls people from it to the X-shaped boarding facility terminated, and the number of gates reduced to 51 from 75.
Constructed in their place would be a $783.8 million landside building tucked between airside’s C and D concourses with new security and baggage facilities, a reconfigured international arrivals area, a 3,000-space parking garage, and a host of other amenities designed to meet the needs of 21st-century travelers.
Still up in the air is what would happen to the existing landside building, which houses ticket counters, the security checkpoint, and baggage claim. The authority has budgeted $20.3 million for its demolition, but Ms. Cassotis said it also could be marketed to developers.
The changes should improve transit and bag delivery times and provide more space for security, Ms. Cassotis said. They also would result in another 24,000 square feet of concession space, mostly in the new landside building.
Ms. Cassotis said the authority has been working with the airlines on the proposal for the past 30 months. Officials with Southwest and American airlines, the airport’s two top carriers, responded favorably to the proposal. It plans to hold a series of community meetings to discuss the changes. The Federal Aviation Administration also must sign off on the plan.