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 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 45 businesses sampled, 14 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 Airport Authority announced in August that non-travelers can access the AIRMALL for the first time since security restrictions shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Non-flyers can receive a one-day “myPITpass” in the ticketing area of the landside building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
“County leaders insisted on street pricing when the Airport was built because of the significant commitment of taxpayer dollars to that facility, and this requirement is now even more important as access to the AIRMALL by the general public returns. 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.”
Some of the biggest differences from non-Airport prices included price markups of more than 40 percent on Sharing Size Peanut M&M’s from Hudson News and a Steelers Lanyard from Black & Gold.
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.
“One store has been out of compliance in each review performed, both by my office and by a consultant, dating back to 2014, and eight 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 beviewed or downloaded here.