US Airways Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker hinted today that more flights could be cut from Pittsburgh International Airport as the airline looks to eliminate unprofitable routes in its system.
"Pittsburgh is doing worse than the rest of the airline," the CEO said this morning before the dedication of a new Steelers-themed plane, "and we are still struggling to do as well as we would like."
The airline currently has 110 daily flights from Pittsburgh, down from a high of more than 500 flights prior to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
"There is not a whole lot more to go," Mr. Parker admitted, in an interview. But "we are going to have to do something about the unprofitable flying, which generally means cutting it to get it fixed."
In May 2006, Mr. Parker said in an interview that Pittsburgh was "marginally profitable" for the Tempe, Ariz.-based carrier because of cutbacks made since a merger with America West Airlines in 2005. He said then that he did not expect any more dramatic reductions in local flights. At the time, US Airways' flight count was slightly less than 200 per day. "We feel good about where it is now," he said on May 17, 2006.
Asked about that this morning, Mr. Parker admitted the results were "much improved" but that "the point of the matter is right now I know it is marginally unprofitable."
He attributed some of the carrier's problems in Pittsburgh to a surge in competition from low-fare upstarts such as Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airlines, both of which entered the market after 9/11.
"The city did a really nice job of getting a lot of competition in, which is good." In fact, he said, the new competition "makes it easier" for US Airways to cut back. "It is not as if we reduce 10 to 15 flights that means the community won't have service."
More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.