Innovation Inspired by the Power of Travel

Taking Innovation to the Next Level

Innovation is ingrained in Pittsburgh. From our world-renowned universities and thriving tech startup scene to well-known corporate giants, including PPG, ATI, Facebook, and Google—all have built solid foundations here, and they’re growing. It’s this region-wide spirit of ingenuity and imagination that inspires Pittsburgh International Airport to look for ways to transform the industry.

Empowering People. Elevating Experiences.

Every airport employee is encouraged to bring new ideas, insights and creativity to their work—things that no machine or software could ever duplicate. It is truly our people who continue to advance our thinking so we can continue to deliver value for our airline partners, an improved experience for travelers and continued economic development for our region.

Presley’s Place: The Future of Compassionate Community

When Pittsburgh International Airport opened Presley’s Place in 2019, it set a new global standard for sensory rooms and amenities focused on travelers with sensory sensitivities at airports.

The space, inspired by and named for an airport worker’s son who has autism, has become a blueprint for similar spaces around the world, particularly in transportation hubs like airports and train stations.

“It’s life-changing for families like ours,” one passenger said. “To give families the ability to experience travel and be able to go places they never thought they could, that just opens up a whole new world for us.”

Learn More about Presley’s Place

Terminal Modernization Program: The Future of Travel

Pittsburgh deserves an airport it can be proud of for years to come. That’s why we’re building one that not only serves passengers better and fulfills the region’s future needs, but also evokes the essence of Pittsburgh. As the city continues to establish itself on the world stage, the Terminal Modernization Program (TMP) will deliver real opportunity to the region—all while creating a lasting first impression for visitors.

Learn More about the TMP

DBE Bonding Workshops: The Future of Inclusive Community

In November 2021, 16 minority or women business owners graduated from a seven-week DBE Bonding Series hosted by PIT in partnership with Riverside Center for Innovation.

The course provided owners of disadvantaged business enterprises with information and tools to help them secure bonds, allowing them to compete for contracts to work on jobs such as the airport’s $1.4 billion Terminal Modernization Program.

“When you hear about a million-dollar contract, you never really see yourself on those jobs. But PIT sees us on those jobs. They’ve been adamant about painting that vision and making sure that we understand that it is a real possibility.”

Read More about the DBE Bonding Series

xBridge: The Future of Development

In addition to being a real-time research and development lab for major universities including Carnegie Mellon, global corporations like Honeywell, and local tech firms such as Carnegie Robotics, PIT has created xBridge, a 10,000-square-foot innovation center custom-built to nurture the evolution of the industry and inspire creative solutions to aviation’s many challenges.

The center includes a testing area for products and materials such as flooring, paint, fixtures and furniture that could potentially be used in PIT’s new terminal and multi-modal transportation complex.

Learn More about xBridge

Microgrid: The Future of Energy

Following three years of design, development, construction and testing, PIT’s new power grid achieved full operational capability in July 2021. Consisting of five natural gas-fueled generators and nearly 10,000 solar panels, the microgrid is capable of producing more than 20 megawatts of electricity making PIT entirely self-sufficient for power generation.

“This first-of-its kind project not only brings energy resiliency to the airport but leads this region’s transition to clean energy while creating new jobs and providing decades of clean, cost-effective energy to the airport and its tenants.”

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Neighborhood 91: The Future of Additive Manufacturing

In October 2019, airport and Allegheny County officials debuted Neighborhood 91, the first development of the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus, a 195-acre business park on airport property devoted to the burgeoning industry of additive manufacturing (AM), the term used for seven specific processes, including 3-D printing, that create three-dimensional objects from a digital file.

Neighborhood 91 is the first site in the world to contain every element of the AM supply chain, from design to production and distribution. Just as neighbors borrow tools from each other, companies in Neighborhood 91 will share infrastructural efficiencies and resources.

Learn More about Neighborhood 91

PIT Apiaries: The Future of Wildlife Management

PIT was among the first U.S. airports to add an apiculture program. More than 100 bee colonies—a total of about 4 million honeybees—are housed in nine apiaries on airport property.

With large amounts of unused land, airports are excellent sanctuaries for a declining honeybee population.

“We have 8,800 acres, with areas of unused land with creek bottoms, wetlands and overgrown fields—that provides nutrition for the bees and helps them thrive,” certified master beekeeper Steve Repasky said.

Read More about PIT’s Apiaries

UV Light Technology: The Future of Sanitation

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PIT became the first airport in the country to institute ultraviolet disinfection methods that utilize the same UV-C rays which have been used to sanitize hospital rooms for decades.

PIT teamed up with Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Robotics to deploy autonomous floor scrubbers — essentially ultra-efficient, self-driving robots. The scrubbers scour the floor surface with 88 pounds per square inch of water pressure. Chemical disinfectant can be added to the process for a deeper clean, and the UV rays then pass over.

The autonomous scrubbers are the only such third-party safety-certified machines in the world, a certification process approved by the American National Standards Institute that ensures safe operation in public spaces.

Learn More about PIT’s Robots

CMU Partnership: The Future of AI

A formal agreement with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), the first university to offer an undergraduate degree in Artificial Intelligence (AI), has enabled us to be the first airport in the world to adopt their students’ innovations to improve the passenger experience.

Our installation of Zensors, a tech platform developed by a CMU graduate, incorporates AI into our closed-circuit camera system to determine how fast or slow security lines are moving. PIT is the first airport to install this technology, providing passengers with real-time security line wait times and allowing them to manage their travel time more efficiently.