Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Posted: 29 September 2009 | Christine E. Klein, Deputy Commissioner of Aviation, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) | No comments yet

Many changes have occurred at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) since the early 1960’s, when the Anchorage airport was first recognised as the “Air Crossroads of the World.” Today, a newly renovated airport terminal facility is a showcase of architecture and achievements, welcoming Alaskans and visitors as they fly to and from Alaska.

Many changes have occurred at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) since the early 1960’s, when the Anchorage airport was first recognised as the “Air Crossroads of the World.” Today, a newly renovated airport terminal facility is a showcase of architecture and achievements, welcoming Alaskans and visitors as they fly to and from Alaska.

The airport’s strategic location has attracted nearly every major air cargo carrier operating in Asia and North America. Air cargo has expanded rapidly over the last dozen years and has dramatically increased the number of cargo flights utilising ANC for refuelling and technical stops. Today the airport ranks number one in the U.S. for landed gross weight and ranks fifth largest in the world for cargo tonnage.

In 1998 airport stakeholders and community organisations agreed that a renovation and expansion of the domestic terminal was pivotal to the airport’s ability to provide service for the travelling public. What began in 1999 as the Terminal Redevelopment Project (TRP), with numerous phases, will be completed this autumn.

A first phase of the TRP included complete demolition and replacement of Concourse C and the construction of a new South Terminal Arrivals Hall. Other improvements included new airport terminal area roads and parking, extension of the upper level curbside departure bridges, and improvements to the airside facilities. Mid-way through construction, and after all of the terminal foundation and columns were complete, 9-11 occurred causing substantial engineering redesign efforts to incorporate and install new security measures and equipment requirements. Anchorage airport became one of the first airports in the nation to open with the full complement of in-line baggage screening and related explosive detection system capabilities, which became requirements post 9-11. The new $240 million 447,200 square-foot concourse C, Terminal Arrivals Hall, and related facilities were completed, commissioned and operational in spring of 2004.

The airport is now heading towards completion of the final phase of the TRP, a $207 million project that, in addition to extensive seismic upgrades, includes renovation of concourses A and B of the South Terminal complex, gate lounges, ticket counters, retail concession spaces, and airline operations areas. All of these areas have been improved visually, structurally, electronically, and mechanically to provide an efficient state of the art terminal facility for users. As part of this effort, the airport replaced one of the oldest existing airport baggage line systems still in operation in the country. Work has consisted of extensive reconfiguration of three outbound baggage belt systems to accommodate centralised TSA baggage screening, replacing and reconfiguring three inbound baggage systems, and two new baggage claim carousel devices.

In addition to terminal structural upgrades and modifications, the building systems’ infrastructure was significantly upgraded. New state of the art mechanical and electrical technology investments have been made by the airport to significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon footprints. All equipment installed is now on a building automation system, providing operating consistency for tenants, improving overall efficiency in terminal maintenance, and helping to reduce operational costs associated with utilities. Communications equipment has been upgraded to meet current technological standards and demands, to allow for upgrade and expansion when needed in the future. Building windows and glazing have been added to the concourses’ architectural design, reducing indoor lighting requirements and energy consumption.

This project was completed in three phases, so work could be done in each part of the terminal building while other areas remained operational and in use to support airline activities. Many areas being renovated in these later phases were older parts of the building complex, where materials containing asbestos existed. Demolition and abatement in these areas required extensive containment and monitoring to ensure the public and workforce health and safety. Alaskan winters present challenges to outdoors construction, so the entire passenger level of Concourse B was demolished and reconstructed in a single six-month summer season. A tight schedule and construction sequencing enabled work efforts to continue on the building interior during the winter. Construction of aircraft fuel pits, roofing and exterior painting were tasks restricted to the summer season.

Due to the complexity of the terminal renovation and extensive construction sequencing necessary to keep the airport South Terminal operational during construction, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) employed a “CM-at-Risk construction contract” for this effort. The construction management at risk contracting and construction method was done to allow the construction contractor to participate in pre-construction planning and design of the terminal renovation. It was the first use of this contracting method undertaken by Alaska DOT&PF and has proven to be highly successful. The project is now nearly complete, has successfully met all project milestones, and is on track for an on-time and within-budget completion.

There are over 18 passenger air carriers operating from the airports’ North and South Terminals. In July the airport completed a terminal/pedestrian connector corridor, which provides access between the two terminals and convenience for the many passengers connecting to international, domestic, regional and local area flights.

Anchorage airport has a well developed and efficient airfield, with three runways and 60 wide-body aircraft parking positions served by an extensive hydrant fuelling system. Currently, several projects are moving forward that directly benefit customers with even more airfield efficiency and safer operations. The airport is reconstructing three Design Group V+ parking positions that will include; 400 Hz ground power, storm drain installation, marking and lighting to the apron and adjacent Taxiway G. Major benefits of this project include the ability to accommodate the 747-8 and future ability to contain aircraft de-icing chemicals at one single point. The project further improves safety by reducing the risk of aircraft damage from foreign object debris (FOD) and extends the useful life of the facility.

Another airfield project involves the rehabilitation and extension of runway 7R/25L. It includes widening the runway an additional 50 feet, including the structural section, to meet FAA aircraft group VI standards. The extension will lengthen the runway to the west 1,500 feet, allowing newer and larger aircraft to utilise the airport. It will also enable heavy aircraft to exit the runway onto taxiway R, resulting in quicker exits, saving on fuel consumption and reducing congestion and delays. This project will be completed by summer 2011.

Anchorage Airport covers 4,837 acres, with several hundred acres still remaining available, landside and airside, for cargo and logistics development. The Kulis Air National Guard Base, adjacent to the airport and located on state owned land, will be vacating their property in 2011. The airport’s goal is to lease this additional property, which includes 100 acres of airfield access. As the national and global economy begins to recover, the airport is well positioned and prepared for future aviation business needs which will include expanded facilities and larger aircraft.

The airport is an economic engine for the city of Anchorage, state, and a catalyst for future growth. There are approximately 18,434 jobs tied to the Anchorage airport, which equates to one in eight jobs in Anchorage with a payroll of $850 million. A recent economic assessment of aviation shows that 8% of Alaska’s $44 billion economy and 47,000 jobs are directly attributable to the aviation industry. While aviation is the primary mode of transportation in the state, it is interesting to note that Alaskans also recreate with airplanes and there are more private pilots per capita here than anywhere else in the world.

Anchorage Airport is part of the larger Alaska International Airport System (AIAS), which also includes our Fairbanks International Airport (FAI), just 350 miles to the north (see sidebar). As major hub airports in Alaska, both airports play an important role in the National Air Transportation System. The AIAS continues to focus on attracting new carriers, providing appropriate infrastructure and excellent customer service in key areas such as performance, value, and facilities. This commitment, coupled with our strategic location, competitive low rates and fees, no curfews, and airfield capacity, puts us in an excellent position for continued growth. We are ready for and welcome new business!

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