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PITTSBURGH-US Airways Inc. has selected a 10-acre site at Pittsburgh International Airport for its new $25-million, 60,000-sf flight operations control center. The decision follows intense competition from Phoenix and Charlotte, NC, which began in summer 2006 when, following its merger with America West, the carrier asked all three locations to bid for the project.

The airline has an operations center here and, through a merger, acquired America West’s center in Phoenix. Charlotte is the Tempe, AZ-based air carrier’s largest hub, and it has several support, flight training and maintenance facilities there. While maintaining some existing operational functions in Phoenix and flight crew training in Charlotte, it plans to break ground for the new Pittsburgh facility later this year and become operational in early 2009.

The center will handle flight dispatch, maintenance operations control, crew scheduling, customer service operations, engineering groups and administrative support. The project ensures the retention of 450 jobs here and the addition of approximately 150 more.

Gov. Ed Rendell’s Action Group secured an $11-million incentive package for the project. It includes loans of up to $6 million from the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, loans of nearly $3.3 million through the Opportunity Grant and Infrastructure Development programs, $1 million in customized job training funds and approximately $750,000 in job creation tax credits. US Airways is also eligible to apply for a $6-million, low-interest loan under locally based Citizens Bank’s job bank program.

“We chose Pittsburgh for a variety of reasons, including the amount of value created for US Airways in the Pittsburgh proposal,” says Scott Kirby, the airline’s president, in a statement. After considering all three proposals, he says, “[We] believe the decision to expand our existing operation at Pittsburgh is the best operational and financial choice for our people and our airline.”

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