Politicians made bad decisions for the airport

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I enjoyed the article about the airport's 20th birthday ("Midfield Terminal at 20: A Shell of Its Past Self," Sept. 30), but at the same time it infuriated me. The PG omitted one major fact: that US Airways approached the county (before exiting bankruptcy) asking it to lower the landing fees to be more in line with the landing fees in Philadelphia and Charlotte, instead of being one of the highest in the nation! Had the county done that, the hub would still be here providing nonstop service to many more destinations and US Airways would still be employing 12,000 employees here.

But instead the county viewed Southwest as its savior. Did the county really think that Southwest was going to come in here with 500-plus flights daily the way US Airways offered before the dismantling of the hub? Never! Southwest would have never built a hub in Pittsburgh because the local population is too low. And no other airline will build a hub in Pittsburgh with the current, excessively high landing fees.

The greed, arrogance, inflexibility and lack of insight of the politicians in the county made it impractical for US Airways to keep the hub here. They wagered that US Airways needed Pittsburgh, not recognizing that a hub with excessively high landing fees and low population would not work in the changed economic environment. It was a business decision US Airways had to make to survive.

So instead, we the people who elected those officials lost our convenient nonstop service and the tax base of the 12,000 employees. How much future growth in the region was and is negatively impacted by the poor air service now offered here? We needed business people making those decisions back then, not politicians!


The writer retired from US Airways in 2004.



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