(Pittsburgh) January 24, 2017 The Office of Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today released results of its annual review of “street pricing” by businesses within Pittsburgh International Airport’s AIRMALL. The lease between the Airport Authority and AIRMALL requires that its concessionaires not charge prices higher than those of comparable businesses outside the Airport. The County Controller is assigned to monitor compliance with this requirement.
Out of 35 businesses sampled, 13 were found to be offering at least one sampled item at a price higher than an identical or substantially similar item at a non-Airport location, a result similar to past reviews.
“The audience for both Pittsburgh International and its AIRMALL has evolved over the past quarter-century, with the Airport changing from a national hub to serving mostly local flyers, and the AIRMALL from a regional shopping destination for the general public to serving primarily those catching flights,” Wagner said. “What has not changed is the obligation that was insisted upon by the County leaders who advocated for the Airport that its patrons not be overcharged.”
Some of the biggest differences from non-Airport prices included price markups of one-third on Apple Ear Pods from In Motion Entertainment, two-thirds on Chapstick from Hudson News, and more than 100 percent on a Powerade from Paradies News.
The Audit expressed particular concern that some businesses have been repeatedly found in violation by the Controller’s Office and in reviews by an AIRMALL consultant, and recommended that AIRMALL management consider instituting penalties for repeat non-compliance.
“Two stores have been out of compliance in each review performed, both by my office and by a consultant, dating back to 2013, and six others have been in violation during most of their reviews in that time. These businesses are clearly not getting the message that they must comply with the requirements of their leases, and I urge the AIRMALL management and Airport Authority to take action to enforce compliance,” Wagner said. “I also wish to thank the AIRMALL management for their continued cooperation on this annual review.”
The full AIRMALL Audit Report can be viewed here.