PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The British are coming!
No, not as in Paul Revere’s day, but in 21st century style.
“I am absolutely delighted to be here today to officially announce new nonstop service between London Heathrow and Pittsburgh on British Airways,” announced Simon Brooks of British Airways at Pittsburgh International Airport Wednesday morning.
A crowd of elected officials, business leaders, and airline enthusiasts warmly welcomed the news, since, as Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis told KDKA money editor Jon Delano, London Heathrow is a great gateway to many other cities in Europe and beyond.
“It’s not just London that gets served. People from Pittsburgh will go through London and maybe connect to Italy, or Germany, or India,” said Cassotis. “We feel very comfortable we can support this flight and that BA made a good decision and that they will be happy with that decision.”
It’s a return for the Brits who discontinued their non-stop London flights in 1999.
“A lot has changed here since then,” noted Cassotis.
“Pittsburgh is the perfect example of a city that is really prospering in so many different industries and whether it is tech or health care, the amount of universities and the amount of education programs you have here, so many great compelling reasons on a corporate but also on a vacation and leisure angle as well,” noted British Airways’ Brooks. “The time is perfect for us.”
British Airways will get three million dollars in state tax dollars to come, but county executive Rich Fitzgerald said that will bring a much bigger return to the region — an estimated 560 new jobs and $57 million in economic impact.
“It’s a win-win across the board,” says Fitzgerald.
Non-stop flights will not begin until next April and won’t be every day at first.
British Airways will have one flight a day to London, departing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, leaving Pittsburgh at 10 pm in the evening.
But for those on board the state-of the art Boeing 787 Dreamliner, everyone gets, says Brooks, “free food and drink, in-flight entertainment, all served with a quintessential British smile.”