Airport will remain open during G-20 summit
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It will be business as usual, or maybe business as close to usual as possible, for Pittsburgh International Airport during the G-20 economic summit next month.
The airport took the step of announcing yesterday that it would be open and operating throughout the gathering of world leaders Sept. 24-25 after being bombarded by phone calls and e-mails from travelers wondering just that.
JoAnn Jenny, spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority, said the questions came mainly from people who had booked flights on those days or who were thinking about doing so or who were expecting visits from family members or friends around that time.
"We wanted to make sure people knew we would be open for business," she said.
But beyond that, there are still plenty of unknowns.
Ms. Jenny said the airport still doesn't know whether there will be travel delays caused by the arrival and departure of world leaders, although she noted there are typically air space restrictions in place when Air Force One lands and takes off.
Nor is much known about what, if any, restrictions there will be on highways leading to and from Downtown as leaders come and go during the two-day session.
With that in mind, Ms. Jenny recommended that people treat travel on Sept. 24 and 25 as they would during the height of the busy summer season or the day before Thanksgiving.
That means booking early and arriving at the airport at least 90 minutes before your flight is scheduled to take off.
Ms. Jenny said travelers also should consider booking their flights for Wednesday, Sept. 23, or Saturday, Sept. 26, to avoid a potential summit-related crunch.
She said the airport is expecting an "influx of commercial traffic" from the large numbers of journalists, protesters, and dignitaries expected to converge in Pittsburgh for the summit.
"We don't know anything for certain, but it's an educated guess the two busiest travel days will be that Thursday and Friday," she said.
Some other summit-related traveling trips:
• Check with your airline before leaving for the airport to make sure your flight is on time.
• Use electronic check-in. That will enable you to avoid check-in at the airport and go directly to the security checkpoint.
• Take a flight early in the day. There's a greater chance for cancellations and weather delays as the day progresses.
• Give yourself extra driving time to account for potential highway restrictions.
As more information becomes available about potential restrictions, the airport plans to post it at its www.flypittsburgh.com Web site, Ms. Jenny said.
The Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin also will be open for general aviation operations during the summit, she said.
First Published August 21, 2009 12:00 am