Anchorage Wants to Cash in on U.S.-China Trade by Beefing Up Airport

Anchorage, Alaska, wants to further capitalize on its strategic location as a transit stop between the U.S. mainland and China by beefing up its airport, an Alaskan economic development official said Wednesday.

Anchorage is already a hub for carriers like FedEx Corp. and Northwest Airlines Corp., but the city wants to capture more of the U.S.-China trade by using the 370 acres of free land at the local airport for storage and product assembly space, said Robert G. Poe, chief executive of the nonprofit Anchorage Economic Development Corp.

Poe said he hopes to encourage more Chinese companies to ship through Anchorage, a prospect made easier by the increasing number of flights between the United States and China.

The U.S. will be sending 62 more flights per week to China through Anchorage starting next year, while China will likely send an additional 30 the other way, according to Poe.

"We want to help Chinese companies do a better job selling to the States," Poe said.

Poe estimates that currently 20 percent of Anchorage's air cargo and logistical work comes from China.

He said Alaska's perceived harsh weather isn't an issue, with the airport closing only once in the past 15 years for weather reasons.

Air transportation accounts for about a tenth of all jobs in Anchorage, Poe said.

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