Pittsburgh tourism chiefs are hoping to welcome direct flights from the UK “in the near future” after meeting with airlines during a visit to London this week.

Representatives of Visit Pittsburgh were joined by a delegation from the city’s chamber of commerce and technology council, as they lobbied for direct services from the UK to complement non-direct flights including Wow Air’s service from Gatwick via Reykjavik.

Speaking in advance of a promotional event at the new US embassy in London on Thursday evening, Visit Pittsburgh chief executive Craig Davis said: “We lost direct flights to Europe after 9/11, but with Wow and Condor, they are starting to return.

“The UK and Germany are our key overseas markets, and we are working hard on direct services from the UK. We have met with airlines while we have been here, and if it (direct flights) doesn’t happen now, it will happen in the near future.”

Davis pointed to the city’s appeal to business and leisure travellers, with many companies having offices in both London and Pittsburgh, and leisure visitors attracted by its authenticity and the opportunity to experience ‘real Americana’.

The city is also developing a reputation as a centre of excellence for technology, with companies including Google, Amazon and Facebook opening satellite offices there.

Davis added: “The UK is the number one source of foreign investment for Pittsburgh. Some people may still have an outdated impression of an industrial steel town, but an investment in culture, cuisine and the environment means it is now regularly voted one of the most liveable cities in the US.”