Mr. Parker said past commitments from the airline were made by a different leadership and couldn't be applied in today's business climate. Pittsburgh's airport, he said, is a remnant of the outdated "hub-and-spoke" system of air travel, which can't compete with low-cost airlines that fly directly between cities.
One of those airlines, Dallas-based Southwest, plans to add at least two more Pittsburgh flights next year as US Airways retrenches. It is already the airport's second-largest carrier.
Yesterday, it rolled out a new set of "business select" fares that are $10-30 higher than the carrier's current top fares but allow elite travelers to board sooner, receive extra frequent flier miles and a free drink.
The change is part of a larger Southwest strategy to court business travelers. Southwest is also changing its boarding process by assigning each traveler a place in line, and it is updating gates at more than 60 airports, including Pittsburgh International, with stainless steel columns and flat screen televisions.
Mr. Parker said US Airways would always be Pittsburgh's largest carrier.
"OK, write that down," Mr. Specter told reporters.
SPECTER, CASEY BLISTER US AIRWAYS SAY AIRLINE BREACHED COMMITMENTS TO CITY AND SHOULD RECONSIDER CUTBACKS
U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey slammed US Airways yesterday for what they called "breached" commitments to the Pittsburgh area and urged the airline to reconsider its vast cutbacks and its...
A four-year-long retrenchment in Pittsburgh has left Charlotte as the largest hub in the US Airways network, with more than 500 daily departures and 121 nonstop destinations.
Even with more than 260 foreign-based companies in Western Pennsylvania, a problem has been getting an airline to agree.
US Airways pulled most its international service in November 2004, during its second bankruptcy.