Fall flights increase from Pittsburgh International Airport

In a sign of recovery for the airline industry in Pittsburgh, several airlines are bringing back nonstop routes this fall.

• Southwest Airlines is adding a weekly Saturday flight to Houston and regular flights to Austin.

• Spirit is adding daily flights to Fort Myers and frequent trips to Orlando.

All of those routes begin in November.

• Starting in September, Jet Blue is increasing its nonstop service to Boston up to five times a day on certain days of the week, which is the highest daily frequency since the start of the pandemic.

• Frontier also plans to increase Denver service to six flights a week from Sept. 8 until Nov. 15 before service ends for the season and shifts to Orlando, according to the publication Blue Sky News.

The additional flights are a response to increased travel locally since this time a year ago.

At Pittsburgh International Airport, passenger traffic was up nearly 18% in June when compared to June 2021, the most recent month for which data was available.

So far in 2022, total passenger traffic has risen nearly 58%, an increase of over 1.3 million passengers, according to Allegheny County Airport Authority spokesman Bob Kerlik.

He said there has been an 11% increase in available seats for Labor Day compared to Labor Day 2021, a sign that airlines have been increasing capacity since last year — either through an increased number of flights or larger planes.

“We’re happy to see airlines continuing to return to normal scheduling,” Kerlik said. “These routes have traditionally been seasonal, and we look forward to more additions in the coming year.”

Airlines have struggled to staff flights this summer as they dealt with crew shortages caused by the pandemic.

Southwest Airlines spokesman Dan Landson said service has improved since Southwest returned to pre-pandemic staffing levels last May.

“We have been delivering a more reliable product for our customers with cancellations representing less than 1% of scheduled flights in May and June 2022,” Landson said. “We have added flights in the second half of 2022, especially in short-haul business markets, to better support our operation and the restoration of our route network.”

Landson said Southwest plans to add over 10,000 employees this year.

Calls to representatives of Spirit, Frontier, and Jet Blue Airlines were not immediately returned.

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