Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (IATA: ANC, ICAO: PANC, FAA LID: ANC) is the major airport in the United States state of Alaska located 4 miles (6 km) southwest of downtown Anchorage.
Constructed in 1951 as Anchorage International Airport, it was renamed by the Alaska Legislature back in 2000 to honor current and long-standing U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. It is Alaska Airlines' second-largest hub, after Seattle. It is also a major cargo hub and, as of 2005, ranks as the world's third-busiest airport by freight cargo traffic, after Memphis and Hong Kong. The majority of passenger flight operations are on Alaska Airlines to and from Seattle (an average of 20 flights per day) and Fairbanks (an average of 13 flights per day).
Anchorage was a common stopover for passengers flying to East Asia from the 1960s to the 1980s because U.S., Asian, and Western European aircraft could not fly over Soviet airspace, and because they did not have the range that modern-day aircraft have. Today, many cargo carriers continue to use Anchorage. Some passenger aircraft still stop at Anchorage on flights between Asia and the eastern United States.
FedEx Express and United Parcel Service operate major hubs at Anchorage International for cargo heading to and from the Pacific rim. NWA Cargo also operates a major hub at ANC airport. FedEx Express is the airport's largest cargo facility and can handle as many as 13,400 packages per hour, employing more than 1,200 people and providing a full customs clearance system. United Parcel Service's hub handles about 5,000 parcels per hour. Both companies forecast a large growth in traffic over the next several years as trade with China and other Far East countries increases and plan to expand their Anchorage facilities comparatively. The United States Postal Service also operates a large sectional center facility (SCF) for the 995xx area ZIP codes. It processes mail and parcels headed to and from all Alaska cities.
Anchorage is also envisioned as a future connecting point for air traffic to the Russian Far East. Although no flights presently link Anchorage and Russia, there are plans to add flights to Sakhalin in the near future to meet the demands of U.S. oil companies. Many of Alaska's North Slope workers live either in Anchorage or elsewhere in the Lower 48 states and fly through the airport to their jobs in Prudhoe Bay.