NEW YORK — A decade ago, Pittsburgh Airport had the foresight to see beyond bad coffee and newsstands to launch the mall-within-the-terminal model. The airport attracted national chains such as Gap, Nine West and Clinique, and gave captive audiences facing endless delays something worthwhile to do with their time: shop.

Many other airports in the U.S. followed Pittsburgh’s lead, upgrading amenities from shopping to food, with generally positive results. That is, until Sept. 11, 2001. Then came other setbacks: the war in Iraq and SARS.

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