ANC records strong recovery in passenger traffic

Published: Monday, August 16, 2021

The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) experienced record air cargo volumes during the first half of 2021 and saw a strong recovery in passenger traffic.

Between January and June, 1.73 million metric tons of air cargo transited ANC, a 23.45% increase over the first half of 2020.

“E-commerce ‘tech-celeration,’ port delays and low product inventories are causing a significant increase in air cargo activity. Our central location on the trans-Pacific trade lane, coupled with our efficient infrastructure and special transfer rights, have resulted in greater utilization of ANC by shippers to maximize their air-cargo potential,” said Jim Szczesniak, the Anchorage Airport director.

“We are seeing a continued shift in supply chains from periodic, container-sized shipments via ocean cargo to more regular, pallet-sized shipments via air cargo. With more than $1 billion in private sector cargo developments in the pipeline at ANC, we expect this growth trajectory to continue.”

According to Szczesniak, passenger traffic has begun to rebound at ANC, with passenger traffic up more than 348%, an increase of 439,000 passengers over the same period in 2020. Compared to 2019, ANC has recaptured 83% of its pre-pandemic passenger traffic.

“Governor Dunleavy recognized the severe impact COVID-19 had on Alaska’s tourism industry and allocated funds to market Alaska this summer. This wise investment has provided excellent returns,” said Szczesniak. “A large percentage of the recaptured 439,000 passengers are tourists, who spend an average of $1,600 or more while visiting. That means approximately $500 million or more for Alaska’s economy so far this summer.”

ANC is expecting continued strength in air cargo and passenger traffic numbers for the remainder of the year, with air cargo about to enter its peak season and passenger seat forecasts for September to the end of the year up 1.7% over 2019.

“It’s encouraging to see a passenger seat forecast for this fall and winter higher than 2019. With additional attractions at our local ski resorts, and the northern lights season coming, we hope Anchorage can continue to wow more tourists through the shoulder and winter seasons and keep the momentum going,” said Szczesniak.