Innovation

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, Google and Uber—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.

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.

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.”

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’s xBridge – a 10,000-square-foot-space at the end of Concourse B – now includes a testing area for products and materials that could be used in PIT’s new terminal project.

The Terminal Modernization Project mock-up area inside the xBridge allows airport staff to install and test materials including flooring, paint, fixtures, furniture and more for potential use in the new 700,000 square-foot terminal and multi-modal transportation complex now in the early stages of construction.

Microgrid: The Future of Energy

Following three years of design, development, construction and testing, PIT’s new power grid achieved full operational capability on July 14. Using both solar and natural gas, PIT became entirely self-sufficient for power generation, making it resistant to any widespread power outage on the traditional grid.

The power generated at PIT is the primary supply for the entire airport, including the terminals, airfield, Hyatt hotel and Sunoco. The airport remains connected to the traditional electrical grid as an option for emergency or backup power if needed. The microgrid generates power, in part, through onsite natural gas wells and solar panels spread across eight acres.

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 will be 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, including a communal supply of powder materials, such as stainless steel and aluminum, used in the additive manufacturing process.

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.

“We had the opportunity to utilize the sensory room at the Pittsburgh airport as we traveled with our adult daughter who has severe autism. I cannot applaud you enough for implementing this fantastic space. It was calming, soothing and relaxing for our daughter, which led to a seamless boarding process and uneventful flight. Thank you for your attention to inclusivity and for making travel a lot easier for families impacted by autism.”

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.