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Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport in the running for North America’s best cargo airport

Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 9:26 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Cargo has turned out to be a steady business at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

In the first half of 2021, 1.73 million metric tons of air cargo flew in and out of the airport. According to a statement from the airport, that’s a 23.45% increase compared to the same time last year. More cargo arrives and takes off from Anchorage every day.

“You’re getting into that holiday rush season right now, where all the Christmas orders are coming in,” said Airport Manager Jim Szczesniak. “And so, yeah, it was busy on top of busy, and now we’re even busier.”

Thirty-one airlines provide cargo service through the airport. According to Szczesniak, that includes about an average of at least 100 wide-body jets used daily to carry that freight. There’s been no shortage of it.

“It’s one of those things that we’ve noticed, that the traditional breaks where it slowed down, we didn’t have those,” Szczesniak said. “So it’s just been continuously busy.”

The increased business has Anchorage in the running again to be considered North America’s best cargo airport. The airport made the announcement on its Facebook page on Sept. 24, adding that the award will be presented at the Asian Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Awards gala on Oct. 21 in Hong Kong.

“Just very appreciative, you know, because of the fact that we know that the people here that are in the cargo industry work really hard to make sure that everything runs smoothly,” Szczesniak said. “And getting that recognition is just a, you know, really good cherry on top.”

Meanwhile, Anchorage will likely see more cargo pass through its airport. Construction is expected to start during the second half of 2022 on a 32.5-million-cubic-foot cold storage unit at the airport.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy formally announced the project on Jan. 25. The storage unit is part of more than $1 billion in private investments to pay for five cargo related projects.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to clarify that the increase in air cargo is compared to the same time period last year, not last year overall, and correct quotes that were not transcribed verbatim.

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