Why Pittsburgh’s New Airport Will Be the Right Size for the Future

The New York Times called it the “airport of the future” — the 1.82 million-square-foot terminal complex at Pittsburgh International Airport that opened to great fanfare in 1992. With its landside and airside buildings, underground tram and novel, X-shaped gate courses, the terminal became a model for other airports around the world…

The Allegheny County Airport Authority has a memorandum of understanding with Carnegie Mellon University to help identify innovations or new technology — which could include autonomous shuttles to extended parking lots — but nothing has been decided. With many parking spaces moving to the garage, some of the extended lot could open up to commercial development.

The purpose of the future, 700,000-square-foot terminal, which broke ground on Oct. 14, is to serve travelers leaving Pittsburgh or flying here from elsewhere — not as a connection hub. The airy design will consolidate ticketing, security checkpoints and baggage claim and at the same time increase the area for concessions and retail — and provide more space for social distancing.