More travel expected at Ted Stevens later this summer

Published: May. 11, 2020 at 7:51 PM AKDT
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At Ted Stevens International Airport, there's no lines at ticketing and security. There's hardly anyone inside the terminal at all, but plenty of cargo planes are still coming and going according to airport manager, Jim Szczesniak.

In fact, there's still so many cargo planes passing through that Szczesniak said Ted Stevens earned the title of busiest airport in the world the past two Saturdays. However, it's not an achievement that excites the airport that much.

"We're normally the 5th busiest cargo airport in the world and that's the title that we really like," he said, "but being the busiest airport in the world in general is not a good thing for us, because it really shows that decrease in passenger traffic is significant. We're seeing decreases in passenger traffic in the 90% range, so it's just not a good situation."

Szczesniak said the airlines are expecting that to change as the summer goes on. He said they're predicting to have travel bookings pick around July going into August.

For those planning to use the airport over the summer, Szczesniak said the airport isn't requiring people to wear masks. The major airlines; Alaska, Delta, and United already are however. So travelers should still bring them to the airport.

Many of the planes going through Ted Stevens are passing through with products to the Lower 48. Szczesniak said many of them are carrying medical supplies from Asia to go down south.

Since they already stop in Anchorage, he said our location puts Alaska at an advantage, should we need additional PPE and other equipment.

As far as holding onto the title of the busiest airport in the world, Szczesniak said it's a title that changes all the time. The number of cargo planes varies greatly based on what day of the work week it is.

"Factories in places start producing stuff on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and by the time it's Thursday, Friday, they've got a whole bunch of it ready to ship out," he said, "So our busier days tend to be Friday and Saturday. We're still one of the busier ones in the united states on a daily basis but then particularly on Saturday cargo traffic is up on Saturday and that's basically the slowest day for passenger traffic"

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