Pittsburgh Wins US Airways New Flight Center

The coveted $25 million, 600-person project will go to Pittsburgh over Phoenix and Charlotte, N.C.

When US Airways merged with America West, though, the relationship improved dramatically. Just before the deal was closed in 2005, Mr. George met with the new management team, led by 45-year-old Doug Parker, and "that is when the tide turned," Mr. George said. He liked the fact that Mr. Parker was honest, even blunt at times. "When he couldn't do something, he let you know he couldn't do something."

Another step forward was a five-year lease US Airways signed last year to do heavy and overnight aircraft maintenance work at Pittsburgh International, bringing some stability to the jobs of 1,200 area airline maintenance workers.

The leadership, Mr. George said, is "respectful, above board, truthful and clear. Very direct -- that's good."

US Airways intends to break ground on its Moon operations center later this year. It selected a 10-acre site off Ewing Road on property owned by Allegheny County.

The center will be ready in 2008, but the first full day of operation will not be until early 2009. US Airways has agreed to a 20-year lease with two 10-year options. It also will have another 20,000-square-foot building nearby as a backup center.

Pittsburgh was such a strong candidate for the center that a proposed takeover of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines -- a bid rejected by Delta creditors last month -- would not have made any difference in the decision announced yesterday.

"We would have still put it here," Mr. Kirby said.

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