Pittsburgh International Airport added three new flights this year with hopes of increasing passenger traffic, but according to airport reports, the number of passengers rolling through Pittsburgh has dropped 21 percent since 2006.
Eight years ago, 9,949,049 passengers traveled through the airport. In 2013, that number has fallen to 7,854,181.
Ashley Henry Shook, an Allegheny County Airport Authority board member, said the numbers tend to fluctuate throughout the year.
“From month-to-month it ebbs and flows depending on whether or not it’s the peak summer travel season, if there are away Steeler games or home Steeler games, certainly that impacts traffic,” she said. “The holidays impact traffic.”
Since last year, the airport has added or announced the addition of nearly 10 flights.
Shook said airports need to develop new strategies if they are going to attract passengers.
“We’ve seen this trend across the country,” she said. “As airlines continue to consolidate and as airports get ‘de-hubbed,’ there needs to be some innovativeness at all of the airports in order to attract those low-cost carriers and stimulate flights.”
James Gill, acting executive director for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, said the airport is working to improve its customer service as a way to generate more passenger traffic.
“We understand that passengers have a choice,” he said. “They can choose not only what carrier they fly on, but what airport they fly out of. So, a focus on customer service is a big piece of it. We want the trip to be hassle-free, convenient, friendly and as positive as we can.”
According to the latest data provided by the airport, passenger traffic increased by 1.1 percent in May compared to a year earlier.
Gill admits that growth has been slow, but he said it isn’t anything to be concerned about.
“Our job is to create as many of those flight opportunities as possible,” he said, “as well as help our airline partners to be as successful as they can.”
The airport currently serves 10 commercial airlines.