The State of the Airport

The Allegheny County Airport Authority Vice President of Government and Community Affairs, Vince Gastgeb, delivers the State of the Airport to Skål Pittsburgh Tuesday night at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport.  

Over the past two years, Pittsburgh International Airport has gained momentum, really turning the corner, and leaving behind the declines of the past to become a thriving O&D facility that reflects our revitalized region. The Airport Authority is creating “Pittsburgh’s airport”, which mirrors and inspires regional growth and prosperity. Pittsburgh’s economy, new business opportunities, technology, research and development and new ideas are being recognized globally. 

ATW Awards PIT “Airport of the Year”

Four years ago Air Transport World, a popular trade publication among airline executives started awarding “Airport of the Year”.  Pittsburgh International Airport is the first U.S. airport to ever be named—previous winners include Singapore, London Heathrow, and Hong Kong.  The airport has also been recognized nationally and internationally for its efforts. 

ATW was impressed by:
  • 80% increase in air service over the past 2 years

  • From 37 to 68 nonstop destinations and 8 new airlines

  • Growth in passenger traffic

  • More than 2% last year, 4% through March this year, and climbing

  • Ongoing customer service improvements that better meet the needs of today’s travelers

  • Customer satisfaction scores have improved

  • For the first time since 2004, the airport will offer three nonstop transatlantic flights this summer on three different carriers –

  • Wow to Reykjavik

  • Condor to Frankfurt

  • Delta to Paris

No Longer a Hub

The airport is not new, and is actually celebrating its 25th anniversary in October. The airport is too big for the 8.3 million passengers it serves annually and will still be too big for its expected 12-15 million by 2030. The airport was originally designed as a hub for connecting traffic and not for the technology demands of today. Pittsburgh International Airport has successfully transitioned to a growing O&D facility with a diversity of airlines. 

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead, the Airport Authority is planning a major modernization of the facilities – both Pittsburgh International and Allegheny County airports. The Airport Authority is drawing up master plans for both focusing on increasing business and maintaining a strong financial position. At Allegheny County Airport, the focus is on bringing in more business for the largest corporate jet base in the region and improving the terminal.

“With Development Comes Demand” – Vince Gastgeb

Although still in its early planning stages, the Airport Authority is confident the facilities can be transformed while keeping costs the same or lower.  Expect to see the plans officially unveiled later this year, which will showcase the modernization needs and goals to maintain the strong financial position of the Airport Authority. The Authority has proven its financial stability with its recent bond rating upgrades (A- to A) from two agencies (Fitch and S&P).  The financial position has attracted ultra-low-cost carriers such as Allegiant, Frontier and now Spirit Airlines, leading the airport to be one of only nine in the nation to be served by all three carriers. With development, comes additional demand for air service. The Airport Authority is looking to create additional partnerships.  The region has seen major investments by Uber and Ford for the autonomous vehicles, Facebook and Google, SAP, the Shell cracker plant, GE Additive Manufacturing and a host of others, creating more air service and development opportunities.

Moving Forward

The Airport Authority looks to the airports’ future as places where new ideas are developed and nurtured using the momentum from our region.  Local musicians, artists and the public are welcomed into the facilities.  The RK Mellon Foundation partnership will bring more of the regional assets like the Children’s and Carnegie Museums into the airport.  Some of the other key partnerships include businesses, universities and organizations like VisitPittsburgh, the Allegheny Conference and the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The Airport Authority believes the community is intrinsically connected to its success!

Ready for Takeoff Program

The Allegheny County Airport Authority is dedicated to giving back to the community it serves and does so by introducing students at all age levels to the possibilities of careers in aviation.  The Ready for Takeoff program introduces middle school students from underserved communities to careers in aviation while the Getting Ready for Takeoff program allows elementary school students to become familiar with the airport environment. The Airport Authority is also developing innovative projects with Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Robert Morris University.

Stay informed!  Receive updates from the Allegheny County Airport Authority and its development at


New Look, Flavors and Happenings

The club was eager to catch a glimpse of the hotel’s $14 million renovation and flag change to Sheraton – the project scope included the property in its entirety and even changing the footprint of the hotel to offer a more thoughtful layout for our meeting and event attendees. As an airport property, the designer felt it was important to capture the essence and used part of an airplane fuselage as wall decoration above the lobby elevators and as a decorative panel underneath our Link@Sheraton Bar.  This is a Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport must see!

Meet the Team

Director of Food & Beverage and Executive Chef, Jim Christman is a man of many talents and a wonderful addition to the team. Not only will you find his food is worth the calories, but in addition – his versatility makes him second to none! Recently met with the request from a bride for a gluten-free wedding reception for 200 – no problem! Not only were the bride and groom thrilled, but all of the wedding guests were raving about how much they enjoyed their meal!  Jim is able to creatively accommodate for food allergy or dietary needs.  With over 8,000 square feet of meeting space, the hotel makes a great gathering place for holiday after-hours socials in private dining rooms.  Chef Christman is excited to launch a new restaurant menu July 1st; make sure to check it out!

The Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport is also pleased to work with Pittsburgh Technical College, and have successfully employed several graduates of the school such as: Mary D’Loss (Executive Meetings Manager), Amber Scharding, Harper Pyle, and most recently, Holly Speed (Sheraton Club Room Attendant). The hotel’s Carl Anderson was awarded the Director of Finance of the Year Award 2016 for Platinum Hotels


Guests can enjoy free WiFi and brand new TVs while earning Starwood and Marriott points as the two companies have merged giving the rewards program more versatility.  The Sheraton recently purchased $35,000 of new room linen and features a 5-Diamond rated sleep package, the only 5-Diamond sleep package rating in the industry.

Park and Fly Packages

Why pay for Parking?  Relax at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport the night before your trip, leave your car and take a convenient complimentary shuttle to and from Pittsburgh International Airport.

“Hit the Road”

AAA Summer Saving deals! Friends or Family coming to Pittsburgh this summer?  Rates available from $107 and valid all days of the week with your AAA card.

New Members Month

June is "Get New Member Month" | Skål members are asked to encourage industry friends to attend for $25.  Join in June and we are waiving the $125 initiation fee.  

Register to attend the Joe Kane Scholarship Fund Golf Outing Benefit; Monday, July 17th at Williams Country Club.  Click here to find out more information.   Can't make it, please consider sponsoring. Click here for more details.  

What is Skal?

Skål is the only international organization that brings together all branches of the travel and tourism industry. Representing the industry's managers, executives, and more, "Skål-leagues" meet at local, national and international levels in an environment of friendship to discuss subjects of common interest. 


Moments captured by Skålmember Dennis O'Keefe.  Click here for more photos.  


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