Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh International's Airmall Changing Course

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh International's Airmall Changing Course

Article excerpt

Pittsburgh International Airport's Airmall is getting an overhaul.

Airmall USA is preparing to embark on a $10 million project to reorganize the shops in the center of the airport's boarding terminal to take into account shifting traffic flows since the loss of the US Airways hub in 2004.

Under the new configuration, retailers such as Nine West, Sunglass Hut and the Body Shop, now located next to a bank of escalators near the middle of the core, will be moved to the sides where the flight information display systems are currently situated.

Those shops now prevent travelers who arrive from the tram from seeing other retailers located behind them between the A and B concourses. With the new arrangement, passengers will have a much better view of those stores as well as some new retailers to browse.

Jay Kruisselbrink, vice president of development for Airmall USA, said the changes are a response to the realities of life after the end of the hub and the dramatic drop in flights and connecting traffic.

Before US Airways eliminated the hub, 80 percent of all passengers used concourses A and B, reserved exclusively for the airline. Now only about half of all travelers use those two concourses. The rest use C and D.

The A and B concourses once were the Airmall's "Boardwalk" and "Park Place," with one third of all retail located between the two. But those retailers are seldom seen by travelers who use the other concourses. Airmall USA is hoping the new configuration will change that.

"We're just adapting the locations to better serve the customer," Mr. Kruisselbrink said.

As part of the remodeling, some shops will be relocated and seven new retailers will be added, bringing the total number of stores to 74. Mr. Kruisselbrink declined to release the names of the new tenants Friday. The overall square footage of Airmall shops and restaurants won't change in the reorganization.

"We're excited about this project," Mr. Kruisselbrink said. "We think it's great for the airport, the Airmall and the community. We believe it's going to increase customer service. It's going to improve revenues."

Airmall sales have plunged over the past decade with the cutbacks by US Airways, from $90 million in 2001 to $58. …

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