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Last month, I had the opportunity of sitting with a US Airways pilot, as we were on the runway waiting for the fog to lift. Our flight was heading to Philadelphia. The pilot was traveling to his hub (home office) to pick up his flight overseas. What I learned from him surprised and saddened me.
He indicated that 1,000 US Airways employees still live in the Pittsburgh area. He said that Pittsburgh's airport remains far superior to the one in Philadelphia. The pilot stated that had the politicians been smart they would have lowered the landing fees to keep the airlines here, but politics being what they are, the politicians killed a potentially golden goose. Now that US Airways is negotiating a merger with American Airlines, wouldn't it be smart if our county executive took the bull by the horns and tried to woo the airlines back to Pittsburgh and this time, lower the landing fees?
It seems to me that there could be incalculable economic rewards for the county, if they were to do whatever it took to have US Airways return. If not, how much longer before our state-of-the-art airport becomes a white elephant?
Well, politicians, do you have any better ideas? A sad kettle of fish.
First Published November 6, 2012 12:00 am