Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport - Background


Constructed in 1951 as Anchorage International Airport, it was renamed by the Alaska Legislature to honor former long-standing U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. It is Alaska Airlines' third-largest hub, after Seattle and Portland. Anchorage was a common stopover for passengers flying to East Asia from the 1960s to the 1980s because Chinese and Soviet airspace were off-limits and because the first generation of jets and widebody airliners did not have the range to fly nonstop across the Pacific Ocean. Some passenger aircraft still stop at Anchorage on flights between Asia and the eastern United States. On September 1, 1983, one of these flights, Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet pilot who had mistaken it for a spy plane, after unintentionally violating Soviet airspace. Cargo carriers, which benefit from short route segments, continue to use Anchorage frequently.

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