The World’s Smallest Airport Becomes the World’s Busiest[Only on Certain Saturdays]

by Montana Fleming

Alaska’s Anchorage International Airport lacks the certain amenities that certain international airports carry such as waterfalls and razzmatazz from Singapore’s Changi or even eight runways from the likes of Chicago’s O’Hare. However, this little unassuming little airport situated between New York and Tokyo has lately came out as an unexpectedrise in fares and flights over the duration of the pandemic.

It is now deemed as the world’s busiest airport, on some Saturday’s at least. “Saturday’s a busy day for cargo operations, which is our bread and butter, but it’s also the slowest day for passenger service,” explains airport manager Jim Szczesniak over a video call.

“So for example, on Saturday, May 2, we in Anchorage had 744 flight operations, whereas Chicago had only 579 and Atlanta had only 529.” Anchorage briefly snatched the world’s busiest airport on Saturday, April 25th. “We’re seeing an increased demand for cargo capacity,” says Szczesniak. “And that’s primarily because a lot of the supplies for the fight against Covid in North America are produced in Asia.”

Airports Council International’s annual report on the world’s busiest airports released a compilation of the busiest airports. ACI’s World’s Director General begins the reports quoting that the pandemic has stuffed down the need for air traffic by more than 90%.

Anchorage is perfectly positioned at a geographical advantage as what the airport quotes is 9.5 hours flying time is 90% for the industrialized world. Airplanes that take off from Anchorage can fly with cargo but with only half-filled fuel and when they re-enter, they can re-fuel.

Anchorage sits at the base of the Chugah Mountains and serves a city of population of just 300,000 souls. However, despite certain technological and geographical disadvantages, Anchorage has emerged as the international transport for critical medical goods during the time of a global crisis.

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