Sunday, July 29, 2018

Pittsburgh-Shanghai charter flights could usher in regular commercial non-stops to China. airport official says.

by sama093 (Creative Commons)

Charter flights between Pittsburgh and Shanghai are set to begin next week, and could be the start of commercial direct flights to China. The USA Today spoke to the Pittsburgh International Airport CEO ahead of the August 3 start.
Airports typically try to prove demand already exists when courting airlines to add a new route. But, in Pittsburgh, an effort is underway to actually help create the demand that could one day help the city secure lucrative non-stop flights to China.

That most tangible step comes next Friday (Aug. 3), when a 316-seat China Eastern Airlines Boeing 777-300ER is scheduled to arrive at the airport on a flight from Shanghai. It’s the first of two round-trip flights China Eastern will fly to Pittsburgh, both charters on which seats are being sold by tour operators.

It’s a modest start, but it’s one Pittsburgh officials see as the start of something bigger.

“It’s two round-trips, which might not seem like much,” acknowledges Christina Cassotis, the Pittsburgh International Airport CEO who is entering her third year in that role. “But when you consider that that’s hundreds of Chinese visitors who have never been to Pittsburgh – who are excited to come to the U.S. and see all sorts of things in Pittsburgh and beyond – we think that this is a great way of short-cutting an awareness campaign.”