(CNN)- Anchorage International Airport in Alaska lacks the waterfalls and noise of the eight runways in Singapore Changi Airport or Chicago O’Hare.
However, this humble little airport-far away from New York and Tokyo-has been advancing by leaps and bounds recently.
At least on certain Saturdays, it is now the busiest airport in the world.
Airport manager Jim Szczesniak explained in a video call: “Saturday is a busy day for cargo operations. This is our rigid diet, but it is also the slowest day for passenger service.”
“So, for example, on Saturday, May 2, we had 744 flights in Anchorage, compared to only 579 in Chicago and 529 in Atlanta.”
Anchorage also briefly won the world’s busiest title on Saturday, April 25.
Top of the world
Angela Gittens, director general of ACI World, said that the coronavirus pandemic means that the current passenger traffic has dropped by more than 90%. “The demand is almost gone.”
However, cargo volumes have been rising, which is why Anchorage Airport (usually the fifth busiest cargo airport in the world) has risen rapidly.
Szczesniak said: “We are seeing an increase in the demand for freight capacity.” “That’s mainly because many supplies fighting Covid in North America are produced in Asia.”
Anchorage is positioned for perfect geographical advantage. The airport says 90% of industrialized countries have a flight time of 9.5 hours.
Its position, to be precise on top of the world, means that the aircraft “flies over the top [of the globe] To shorten the distance. “Szczesniak said.
“The advantage of Anchorage is that the aircraft can be filled with cargo, but only half of the fuel. They fly into Anchorage, then refuel, and then reach their destination.”
Possible small airport
Szczesniak said: “We use different areas of the airport to accommodate parking spaces that we would not normally use.”
The airport has recently received the heaviest aircraft ever, Antonov An-225 Mriya cargo plane and some sports-the New England Patriot aircraft parked here because it transports supplies between Boston and Asia.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, the crew members passing by Anchorage “minimized the ability to interact with Alaskans,” Szczesniak explained. They use private transportation to and from the hotel to avoid mixing with people on the ground.
Szczesniak said: “After the coronavirus, we think Alaska will become a very popular tourist destination.” “You know, they tell you to stay six feet away with people. In Alaska, you can come here to spend a wonderful holiday, and Not within six miles of someone.”
Within a radius of 50 miles from the airport, there are about 60 glaciers, and the most desolate state in the United States is covered by powerful national parks and nature reserves. There are hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting and so on. It is ideal for adventurers in remote areas.
The airport is using all hospital-grade disinfectants to upgrade its cleaning procedures to Covid-19 combat readiness standards in preparation for returning passenger services.
In the terminal, they added sterilizable UV LED lights to the escalator handrails. Szczesniak said: “When the handrail passes through the machine, it will be irradiated with ultraviolet light to kill any microorganisms, viruses or bacteria that occur on it.”
$97 billion in losses
Flightradar24, a real-time flight tracking website, said that during our video call between London and Anchorage, there were 90 aircraft flying from the British capital to Alaska Airport.
Szczesniak said: “Now there are more air planes to and from Anchorage than JFK and LaGuardia.”
The world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, received 1100.5 million passengers in 2019. However, in the first quarter of 2020, Atlanta Airport received 20.7 million passengers, a drop of more than 18% from the same period last year.
By 2020, aviation industry revenues will be reduced by 97 billion US dollars, and recovery may be a slow and painful process.
Anchorage’s team is proud of their efforts to facilitate the transportation of medical supplies at a time of global demand, but they hope that the occasional time as record holders will be greatly reduced.
CNN’s Marnie Hunter wrote this report