PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Speaking to a crowded room of local engineers at an event sponsored jointly by the Engineers Society of Western Pa. and the Airport Corridor Transportation Association, Christina Cassotis, the Airport Authority’s CEO, insisted western Pennsylvanians would help build the new $1.1 billion airport terminal.
“We expect local participation and we look forward to it,” Cassotis told over 150 in attendance.
KDKA money editor Jon Delano moderated the program and afterwards asked Cassotis to repeat her pledge.
“Local companies will be represented here. That’s how you build Pittsburgh’s airport. You let Pittsburghers build it,” said Cassotis.
“Now they may be supplemented by folks from outside that have experience with airport terminal design or airport terminal construction, but we will see western Pennsylvania companies and individuals benefit,” she said.
The new terminal will be constructed adjacent to airside, eliminate the trains, end that sluggish baggage system, construct a bigger parking garage, and put everything on the same level closer together.
“We want to make sure that we have the most efficient airport that we can for this community, and we’re meeting the needs of the future,” said Cassotis.
That means a super high-tech facility for millennials — like biometric screening instead of the time-consuming screening we see now.
“Think of like you’re walking down a hallway and there are ways that biometrics will measure whether or not you are a security threat, after you’ve turned over a whole lot of biometric information of course,” said Cassotis. “So seeing some of that rolled out in parts of the world, and we’re seeing TSA start to innovate in that area.”
Cassotis insists the new terminal — to be built by bonds without local tax dollars — is essential.
Delano: “Christina, will a new terminal mean more airlines flying in and out of Pittsburgh?”
Cassotis: “It’s not the direct result, but we hope we will see new service attracted because it’s a facility that makes sense to serve. I can tell you this, if we don’t do it, I think we could risk losing airlines, and we’re seeing that in Kansas City.”
If all goes as planned, the new terminal will open in 2023.