(Pittsburgh) December 21, 2018 Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today released results of her office’s annual review of “street pricing” by businesses within Pittsburgh International Airport’s AIRMALL. The lease between the Airport Authority and the AIRMALL operator 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 45 businesses sampled, 26 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. Overall, 446 items were sampled, with 21 percent exceeding non-Airport prices.
“County leaders insisted on street pricing when the Airport was built because of the significant commitment of taxpayer dollars to that facility. Those who paid to build the Airport shouldn’t have to pay more for a bite to eat or a gift for a grandchild, and keeping this promise to our residents is an important duty of my office that I am pleased to carry out each year,” Wagner said.
Some of the biggest differences from non-Airport prices for identical items included price markups of more than two-thirds ($3.99) on a Pirates luggage tag from Paradies Gifts, more than half ($3.45) on a 4-ounce Kenwood Merlot from Buford’s Kitchen, and 50 percent ($10.00) on an Apple USB power adapter from InMotion Entertainment.
Auditors also noted that 13 percent of sampled items did not have prices clearly marked.
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 2015, 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.
The Video Press Release can be viewed here.