American Airlines Parks Aircraft At Pittsburgh International Airport
Due to the ongoing downturn in the number of passengers traveling, airlines are being forced to park large portions of their fleet in an attempt to balance both supply and demand.
American Airlines currently operates hubs out of Chicago O’Hare, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Dallas Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, Washington National, Miami, New York (JFK and LaGuardia), and Phoenix. These hubs connect to cities both large and small across the United States and the world. However, due to the large size of these airports, there is not room to park the large number of aircraft that the airline is currently grounding. That is where Pittsburgh International Airport is stepping in.
Pittsburgh was once a hub for USAir/U.S. Airways until right around the time of the 9/11 attacks. The hub was downsized to a focus city, and then to just a handful of flights. The airport saw a drastic reduction in flights as well as total passengers. An airport that once boasted flights to London, Paris, and Frankfurt was now left without any connection to Europe.
The airport spent the next decade without any sign of improvement until Christina Cassotis signed on as the CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Since that time, the airport saw new flights to Paris, Iceland, Frankfurt, and London. The airport also saw special charter flights to China, as well as cargo flights to Doha, Qatar.
Even with the addition of these new flights, the airport is still a shell of the fortress hub that it once was. Pittsburgh International Airport was designed with USAir/U.S. Airways in mind, with many runways and a large X shaped terminal, as well as an E shaped terminal for commuter flights.
Pittsburgh is a prime destination for airliner diversions due to it’s proximity to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York. The airport frequently sees aircraft landing due to weather, medical emergencies, or other reasons. This is what makes it a prime location to store aircraft for the likely short duration they will be grounded.
American Airlines began sending their large Airbus A-330 aircraft to Pittsburgh for storage, followed by the Airbus A-320 and Embraer regional jet aircraft.
Images taken from Allegheny County Airport Authority Flickr