Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is becoming the very first US airport to reinstate airside access for non-fliers.
So long as they pass the relevant security checks, family members, shoppers or those who simply want to grab a bite to eat can all enter areas that, post 9/11, only passengers have been able to enjoy.
Owned by Allegheny County and operated by the county’s airport authority, the Pennsylvanian site now leads the way so far as post-security American airport access is concerned and, according to one official, it’s just what locals have been wanting.
“This is one of the top five requests I get any time I give a speech”, commented Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO, Christina Cassotis. “This is a very unique community in that you have a lot of meeters and greeters, people who drop off and pick up loved ones”, she told news agency Bloomberg.
PIT Visitor Access
Developed in collaboration with the TSA (Transport Security Administration), PIT’s beyond security access programme launches on 5 September. Located on Pittsburgh’s third-floor ticketing level, a special counter’s been set-up to handle visitor access requests.
‘Checking in’ with a passport or driving licence will result in supply of a “myPITpass”. This document is provided free of charge and, provided standard screening checks are passed, gets non-fliers beyond security.
Beyond retail benefits, the creation of this scheme also means unaccompanied minors’ parents or elderly people’s children will be able to accompany them right through to boarding. That’s not been permitted at any US airport since the tragic events of 11 September 2001. Cassotis described this access restoration as “a return to the good old days”.
“A lot of people remember when this airport was built 25 years ago, being able to come here on a Friday night for dinner”, she added. “It’s endearing, it’s genuine…[and] people really like it.”
Pittsburgh International is Pennsylvania’s second-busiest airport behind Philadelphia International. 2016 passenger traffic reached beyond 8.3 million, making it one of the United States’ 50 busiest airports.
Sited on 9,000 acres of land, its infrastructure includes four runways – two of them running parallel – 50 gates and some 13,000 parking spaces. 155 flights leave every single day, bound for 37 other destinations and, according to officials, the airport’s no more than 90 minutes’ flying time away from over two-thirds of populated North America.