Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) was the nation's sixth busiest international air freight gateway by value of shipments in 2008. It was the 21st leading gateway by value among all air, land, and sea freight gateways.
Five percent of the value of all U.S. international air cargo moved through ANC in 2008 (table 1). About $41 billion worth of merchandise trade passed through ANC in 2008, a decrease of 8 percent from $45 billion in 2007. Exports fell about 5 percent, and imports fell 10 percent (USDOC CB 2009b)1. By weight, ANC ranked first among all U.S. air gateways, handling 26 percent of the tonnage of U.S. international air freight (table 1).2 It handled about 2.5 million tons of international air cargo in 2008, down 19 percent from 2007 (table 2).
ANC is a major hub for international air trade with Asian countries. Most flights from the United States destined for Asia or from Asia destined for the United States make operational stops at ANC. The top origin and destination countries on nonstop international flight segments through ANC were South Korea; Hong Kong, China; Taiwan; and Japan (table 3). The top cities for nonstop flight segments for air cargo were Seoul, Taipei, and Hong Kong (table 4). The origin and destination markets for ANC were also the same as the origin and destination countries on nonstop international flight segments.3
By tonnage, FedEx and United Parcel Service were the major U.S. carriers among the top air carriers for imports and exports. The other major cargo carriers at ANC in 2008 were Korean Air Lines and Cathay Pacific Airways (table 5).
ANC holds a unique position among international air gateways. In 1996, the U.S. Department of Transportation began to permit air carriers from foreign countries (except those from the United Kingdom and Japan) to conduct expanded cargo activities at ANC. These activities included cargo transfer from a foreign carrier's aircraft to any of its other aircraft, transfer from a foreign carrier to any U.S. air carrier, and transfer from one foreign carrier to any other foreign carrier. This ruling gave a tremendous boost to the already growing international merchandise trade through ANC. In part because of this ruling, international air cargo through ANC has increased steadily since 1996. The steady growth in air cargo tonnage has enhanced ANC's position as a national and international air freight hub. From 2002 to 2008, the airport significantly expanded facilities, including taxiways and concourses.4 As the global economic recession abates and trade between the United States and Asia, particularly China, increases, the number of flights between U.S. and Asian markets and the tonnage of international air cargo passing through ANC are likely to increase.
1 The 2007 data used in this comparison are not presented in table 1. The data are available online in the gateways database at www.bts.gov.
2 Ranking of air gateways by weight is available in table 9 of this report's overview section.
3 This information is based on Form 41 International Market Data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of Airline Information. Origin-destination airport-pair data by value are not available from the merchandise trade data. See box 2, page 15, for further discussion of the segment and market data.
4 Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, 2008 Master Plan Study Report, January 2009, available at www.dot.state.ak.us/anc as of July 20, 2009.