Airport arrivals mostly on time despite air show
Saturday, June 16, 2007
By Dan Majors, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Delays at Pittsburgh International Airport yesterday were minimal, but authorities stressed that it was just the start of what is expected to be a hectic weekend culminating with lines Monday morning that will rival those seen at Thanksgiving, the busiest time of the year.
Jeff Martinelli, spokesman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, said things went "very smoothly" yesterday, the first day of weekend adjustments built into flight schedules to accommodate the annual Wings Over Pittsburgh Air Show.
The show at the 911th Airlift Wing's site on the U.S. Air Force Reserve Base in Moon features daylong performances today and tomorrow by flight teams from various branches of the U.S. military, including the Air Force Thunderbirds.
Yesterday's delays were caused as air space was cleared so the air show teams could practice.
Mr. Martinelli said only two arriving passenger flights were delayed by more than 15 minutes and one departing flight, a Southwest plane, missed its takeoff time and had to wait about 40 minutes for a scheduled practice to end.
"It's been nice," he said. "I'm sure to those folks on that Southwest flight, it wasn't nice, and we're not happy with that, either, and we're going to keep working [to avoid that happening] again."
Drivers in Moon found Business Route 60 between the Route 60 junction and University Boulevard was closed for part of the day yesterday as the flight teams practiced. The road will be closed again today and tomorrow from 12:30 to 2:45 p.m. Motorists are advised to use Business Route 60 between University Boulevard and Flaugherty Run Road and Route 60 past the airport.
Travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport are again being urged to arrive more than two hours before their scheduled flights in order to ensure that they get through the security checkpoint.
This will be especially important during the crunch Monday morning between 6 and 9 a.m., Mr. Martinelli said.
"The U.S. Open's ending and we're really getting into the swing of the summer vacation season," he said. "So we're bringing in extra volunteers and opening auxiliary checkpoints.
"We expect to handle it well, but we want the public to be aware of what they should expect."
Ground Ops, Southwest Airlines, CMH