For almost any other city in the world, the amount of cargo traffic that passes through Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport would be great news -- but local officials say what they've seen is a 25 percent decrease in cargo handled here.
Airport manager John Parrott says the decrease is significant but not that troubling, pointing out that the majority of cargo planes stopping here in Anchorage aren't unloading but merely refueling. He says that's actually good news, following a recently built fuel system expansion paid for by the cargo carriers.
"We now have (a) total of 36 million gallons of fuel storage here at the airport," Parrott said. "Those airlines would not have made that capital investment unless they were very confident they're going to be here for a long time and need that fuel."
Another reason Parrott sees the airport bouncing back from the downslide is because there is nothing faster than flying.
"Moving things by surface, by ocean-going vessel, is cheaper than moving them by air, but it takes significantly longer," Parrott said.
While the decrease is being felt in Anchorage, some firms like Northern Air Cargo say they haven't experienced a slowdown.
"For in-state cargo on NAC, in terms of volumes and pounds, we're flat for the year," said NAC marketing manager Blake Arrington. "We haven't had a decrease or increase since this time last year."
That's especially good news for Alaskans, since according to Parrott the airport is responsible for one in 10 jobs in Anchorage.
Contact Mallory Peebles