There’s a new nonstop flight option out of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport that could appeal to local residents and snowbirds alike.
Elite Airways announced Friday that it will begin offering flights from SRQ to Pittsburgh International Airport beginning Feb. 23, 2018.
That’s just in time for the debut of the Pittsburgh Pirates 50th spring training opener at LECOM Park on Feb. 24.
“The addition of Pittsburgh is particularly timely given the strong connection between our cities and the upcoming spring training season for the Pittsburgh Pirates starting one day after the first flight,” said Rick Piccolo, the president and CEO of Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “We believe this service is a home run for the airport and the community.”
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It’s the third time that Elite Airways, which has offered flights out of SRQ for about a year, has expanded its destination offering.
The new service connects Pittsburgh, which has been dubbed “America’s Most Livable City,” with the Bradenton area, one of America’s happiest cities.
Elite Airways officials say the recreational activities available in both metros were a major reason for offering the service, citing the sports teams in Pittsburgh and the miles of beaches not far from SRQ.
“We think Pittsburgh will be a tremendous destination for the Sarasota-Bradenton group, and, in addition, for the Pennsylvanians to travel down for spring training and the beaches,” said John Pearsall, president of Elite Airways.
The service will operate on Mondays and Fridays to start, but Pearsall said his company soon would expand the offerings for the year-round service.
Elliott Falcione, the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said 20 years ago he wouldn’t have considering building a relationship with Pittsburgh. But five years ago, his organization formed a sister-city relationship with Pittsburgh.
“This is a great example of two cities working together — that believed in something — finding the right airline to get this done,” Falcione said.
Pearsall said he believes at least 30,000 travelers will take advantage of the service within the first year.
Elite Airways was founded in 2006 and mostly offers service along the nation’s east coast.
Need to know
Details on the nonstop flights between Sarasota Bradenton International Airport and Pittsburgh, which start on Feb. 23, 2018, and will be held on Mondays and Fridays:
- Departs Sarasota-Bradenton (SRQ) at 9:30 a.m. and arrives at Pittsburgh (PIT) at 12:15 p.m.
- Departs Pittsburgh (PIT) at 1 p.m. and arrives at Sarasota-Bradenton (SRQ) at 3:45 p.m.