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ACAA Releases Results Of Economic Benefit Of Low Cost Carriers On The Region


  • Low cost carriers save Pittsburgh travelers $92.5 million

PITTSBURGH, PA (January 9, 2012) –The Allegheny County Airport Authority released the results of a study on the local impact of expanded low cost carrier (LCC) service at Pittsburgh International Airport. The Allegheny County Airport Authority conducted this study in an effort to quantify the value of lower airfares on the tri-state region.

Currently average fares from Pittsburgh are 8 percent below the national average and 21 percent below Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Pittsburgh International Airport’s current roster of LCCs includes JetBlue Airways, Direct Air, USA3000 and Southwest/AirTran. As a rule, airports generally experience an increase in annual passenger enplanements when low cost carriers enter a market as a result of low air fares. Pittsburgh is no exception. Benefits related to LCC service include lower airfares and an increase in Pittsburgh passenger traffic.

“This study reinforces what we already know - low cost carriers provide true economic benefits to the region. Lower airfares make our region competitive for retaining and locating businesses. By continuing to focus on improving service and expanding our carriers at Pittsburgh International Airport, we provide more travel options that save money, helping both businesses and the local economy,” stated Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.

“Every time a low cost carrier started or expanded service in Pittsburgh, the Airport Authority has been on record to say we need to support the new service, otherwise we will lose them and fares will go up. This report details the limited options air travelers would have if LCCs exited to important business and leisure markets such as New York and Orlando,” said Glenn R. Mahone, Chairman, Allegheny County Airport Authority.

• The Study presents significant findings: During the 2000-2010 period, the price of air travel nationwide increased by approximately 45 percent, while at Pittsburgh, average fares dropped 16 percent. Originating passengers climbed to a record high of 4.21 million in 2007, with the entrance of Southwest, JetBlue, and other LCCs stimulating demand and recapturing passengers from competing airports.

“Moving forward, the route to watch is New York. The fares to all of the New York metro airports, JFK, LGA and EWR, are lower today on US Airways, Delta, American and Continental for one reason: JetBlue Airways service to NY’s JFK. Yet on the two flights a day they operate to JFK, the passenger load factors are suffering and need to improve. More PIT-JFK travelers need to book JetBlue, and with the airline’s excellence in product and customer service, it shouldn’t be a hard sell for Pittsburgh residents.” stated Bradley D. Penrod, Executive Director/CEO, Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Overall, JetBlue’s new air service caused average premium fares between Pittsburgh and New York City to fall by 20 percent, between 2000 and 2010.

In the past 5 years, the Boston market has experienced the largest fare savings of 42% or an average of $326 roundtrip with the entrance of JetBlue. Philadelphia experienced the next largest decline with a 28.2% fare savings since 2006 as Southwest has increased their Pittsburgh presence. The presence of all low cost carriers in Pittsburgh has saved leisure and business travelers $92.5 million in 2010.

“Southwest Airlines strives to offer Pittsburgh travelers low fares and flights to popular destinations. We are thrilled to be making a difference in Pittsburgh, and we look forward to serving even more passengers at Pittsburgh,” said Gary Kelly, Chairman, President, and CEO, Southwest Airlines.

The complete Low Cost Carrier study is posted in PDF format.

Low Cost Carriers and the cities served nonstop from Pittsburgh International Airport:
Direct Air:
Myrtle Beach, SC
JetBlue: Boston, MA; New York (JFK), NY
Southwest/AirTran: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Chicago (MDW), IL; Denver, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Ft. Myers, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Orlando, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Tampa, FL
USA3000: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Cancun, Mexico

The Allegheny County Airport Authority also provides weekly fare offerings from Pittsburgh International Airport. The Discount Fares newsletter comes out every Wednesday afternoon delivered to your email address. You can sign up for the fare alert at


Jan 08, 2012