Passengers taking off from Pittsburgh International Airport owe just a little less now. Airline fees declined for the third consecutive year.
In approving a 2016 budget, the Allegheny County Airport Authority voted to decrease the passenger charge from $12.90 to $12.88. The cost per enplaned passenger is the lowest it's been since 2008.
Pittsburgh International does not receive any tax dollars from the county, so this fee allows operations within the airport to continue as usual.
“Landing fees to the airlines are what funds the airport. Our gate fees, our landing fees, equipment fees in addition to parking, concessions (and) all that extra non-aviation revenue as well,” PIT spokesperson Bob Kerlik said.
According to Kerlik, that's what the airlines pay to the airport after passing it along to passengers. Obviously, the more passengers you get, the more that fee is able to come down,” he said.
Airport officials reported a 1 percent increase in enplaned passengers this year peaking at 4.15 million people. Their passenger fees have allowed for continued expansion both inside the airport and in the flight options now available to travelers, Kerlik said.
There have been renovations to baggage claim, new floors and carpeting, electronic information screens and a newly completed mothers’ nursing lounge. Airline computer systems have also been renovated to make it easier for new airlines participating with the airport.
“We’ve installed what we call common-use terminal equipment," Kerlik said. "Rather than installing their own computer system, they use ours, in a way. It’s sort of the new cutting-edge technology for airports. That has helped us attract some new carriers.”
Porter Airlines, Allegiant, OneJet and Sun Air have played a part in increasing destinations out of Pittsburgh International, Kerlik said. Nonstop flights have increased from 37 two years ago to 51 today.
And the changes will continue, he said.
“We’re hopeful that we’re going to have some more announcements here shortly in the coming months to expand that nonstop portfolio even more," he said.
The 2016 budget totals $101.2 million, up 3.44 percent from 2015.