Pittsburgh welcomes Icelandair; doubles long-haul routes; 60 destinations in Q2

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Pittsburgh is Pennsylvania’s second most populous city The airport’s biggest development recently was the 16 May 2024 launch of Icelandair from its Keflavik hub. It is not a new airport pair: defunct WOW Air served it until 2019. But it is great that it has returned and with another new operator. It means that Pittsburgh has two non-stop routes in S24 for the first time since before the pandemic.

Along with the arrival of Breeze in 2021 and Sun Country in 2022, and good growth by Alaska Airlines, Frontier and Spirit, Icelandair will help with Pittsburgh’s traffic, which ended last year about 6% lower than in 2019. However, it was offset by the loss of Boutique Air and Contour, among other carriers, and lower capacity by various incumbent operators. Inevitably, passenger volume remains heavily below what it was when the airport was a US Airways hub.

Pittsburgh traffic 1998-2023

Pittsburgh doubles long-haul routes

Icelandair operates Keflavik-Pittsburgh 4-weekly in the summer using the 737 MAX. It is another example of how new and much more fuel-efficient narrowbodies, with transformative ranges and economics, are opening many new opportunities. It supplements British Airways’ 6-weekly London LHR service in S24, which restarted in 2019 having last been served in the 1980s/1990s to feed US Airways’ Pittsburgh hub.

Pittsburgh has long had European flights. Examining the period since 2000 shows that, due to US Airways’ hub, the carrier served Paris CDG until 2002 and London LGW and Frankfurt until 2004. Delta operated Pittsburgh-CDG between 2009 and 2018 while Condor flew Frankfurt-Pittsburgh between 2017 and 2019.

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Southwest is number one

The LCC remains Pittsburgh’s leading operator. According to Cirium schedules information, it had approximately one in four seats in Q2, roughly the same proportion as it had in pre-pandemic 2019. Its network comprises 19 non-stop destinations in these three months. Its latest new route is San Diego, with a weekly service beginning on 8 June. For the first time, two airlines will exist on the airport pair, as Breeze began it on 3 May (2-weekly).

Dublin Airport

Breeze is now Pittsburgh’s eighth-largest airline, unhelped by its low frequencies and small capacity aircraft. The airline began flying in May 2021, with Pittsburgh joining its map in July of that year. It has 12 routes from the airport in Q2, five of which are not served by another carrier: Hartford, New Orleans, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Providence.

Top 10 Pittsburgh airlines Q2 2024

Sixty non-stop destinations in Q2, five more than in 2019

Some 55 of the 60 airports are domestic in 27 states. Hubs dominate Pittsburgh’s top destination list, which is based on capacity and does not indicate all the places passengers go. As is usually the case, Atlanta is number one. It has 62-weekly departures in June by Delta (51), Southwest (7) and Frontier (4). The capacity growth was aided by the entry of Frontier on 17 May 2024; the ULCC briefly served it in 2016.

Two Southwest markets, Chicago MDW and Baltimore, have fallen out of the top 10; MDW is now 14th and Baltimore 12th. They have been replaced by Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia, whose capacity has risen by a quarter due to Frontier’s entry on 16 May (2-daily). It is the first time since Southwest pulled out of the 430-kilometre market in 2012 that it has had two carriers.

Pittsburgh’s international map comprises Cancun, Keflavik, London LHR, Montreal, and Toronto YYZ. According to Cirium, Freeport, Frankfurt, Paris CDG, Punta Cana, and Toronto YTZ have been cut in the past 10 years.

Top 10 Pittsburgh destinations Q2 2024

Milan Bergamo Airport