There's no question the airport needs more flights and the people who take them -- and that makes the news that PeoplExpress is reviving an old brand and is eying a presence in Pittsburgh especially encouraging.
As Post-Gazette staff writer Mark Belko wrote last week, the airline's plan is to concentrate on routes that have been largely abandoned by other airlines -- such as West Palm Beach and Providence, R.I.
Pittsburgh will be one of the first cities PeoplExpress serves, although it must first receive government approval, raise capital and buy planes. While landing fees are higher in Pittsburgh than some other airports, the Allegheny County Airport Authority offered PeoplExpress standard incentives for starting new routes, including free landing fees and marketing help.
The old PeoplExpress operated between 1981 and 1987 and was at one time the third-largest carrier in Pittsburgh and the fifth-largest nationally. But it expanded too rapidly and became part of Continental Airlines.
These are hard times for the aviation industry, with passengers fewer and fuel costs higher, and at least one aviation consultant has expressed skepticism about the chances of a start-up prospering.
It's too early to get excited about one more airline perhaps coming to Pittsburgh, but not too early to dream about a flight of fancy. In its better days, Pittsburgh's airport was an airline hub and sooner or later some bold upstart carrier will realize it can be again. Happy landings, PeoplExpress.