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On April 25th, ANC went from #5 to #1 as the world’s busiest airport! The airport’s strategic location is playing a significant role in the global economy and fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Kwigillingok, one of the many Alaskan communities not connected to a road system dependent on aviation for all goods and services.


“Unique”, not special, is the moniker frequently heard in Alaska.  With the largest percentage of aircraft ownership in the United States, and nearly seven times more aviation travel than the average American, aviation in Alaska consistently faces challenges that most of America, or even the world, will never experience.  However, with those challenges come unique opportunities as well, and COVID-19 has certainly delivered.  82% of Alaska’s communities are not connected to a road system and rely solely on aviation to provide the life, health, and safety needs of their residents.  With 229 federally recognized tribal groups within the State, most spread among numerous villages living a subsistence lifestyle, aviation depends equally on people and goods to remain economically viable.  With the onset of a global pandemic that has reduced passenger travel by 90% overnight, regional airlines find themselves scrambling to survive.  Meanwhile, with the 1918 decimation caused by the Spanish flu of 1918 etched into our First Alaskans’ memories, rural Alaska is striving to find the balance between essential transportation and community preservation.  As often occurs, innovative solutions addressing critical concerns have emerged enabling non-touch delivery, socially distant travel, health assessment procedures, and more.   Thoughtful lifting of intrastate travel guidelines will be a welcome relief to rural aviation and a critical first step back towards normal.

The world’s largest airplane – Antonov 225 – landed at ANC enroute from China to Canada with medical supplies.

At the other extreme, Anchorage International Airport (ANC) has unexpectedly taken center stage by checking the “World’s Busiest Airport” square on April 25th.  Blessed by location, location, location on the critical trans-Pacific air route, for several years Anchorage has been the #2 air cargo airport in North America (behind FedEx’s Memphis headquarters), and #5 in the world.  However, the world’s reduction in passenger travel has brought opportunity to ANC in the form of increased air cargo.  With approximately 23% reduction in global cargo capacity due to passenger flight reductions, vast amounts of air cargo have been shifted to freighters.  In addition, China is the #1 producer of personal protective equipment (PPE) – a commodity immediately in high demand around the world.  Being more efficient to maximize payload and minimize excess fuel, numerous cargo airlines conduct stopovers in Alaska to refuel, swap crews, and continue to the lower 48 states.  This dynamic has resulted in a significant increase in air cargo activity with 100+ wide-body aircraft transiting Anchorage every day.  With three 10,000+ foot runways and ample pull-thru cargo hard stands, ANC was well prepared for the surge.  Thanks to the tremendous partnership between the airlines, the airport, and health agencies, flight crew screening procedures were established early during the crisis and have enabled these critical flights to continue uninterrupted.

Overall, the COVID-19 crisis has served to strongly reinforce how critical aviation is to not only Alaska, or the U.S., but the world.  As we emerge from this challenge, and begin the task of rebuilding our economies, airports will be an economic engine to our communities and an integral part of the recovery.  May this recent challenge give rise to new opportunities in your part of the world as well.

John R. Binder III, A.A.E.
CEO Alaska International Airport System
Deputy Commissioner of Aviation
Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities


Gerry’s dnata Expands Offering; Launches Line Maintenance Services in Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan, 13 January 2022 – Gerry’s dnata, Pakistan’s leading ground services provider, has expanded its offering. The company obtained Maintenance Organization Approval from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority to provide aircraft line maintenance services to airline customers, and now offers a one-stop-shop of ground handling, cargo and technical services at the airports of Karachi (KHI), Lahore (LHE) and Islamabad (ISB). 

Gerry’s dnata’s team of professionals can provide full line maintenance support and are trained on customers’ company procedures, providing a seamless service to both passenger and cargo airlines.

The launch customer is flydubai, which Gerry’s dnata already serves at four airports in Pakistan providing a range of ramp and passenger handling services to the airline and its customers.

Syed Haris Raza, Vice President of Gerry’s dnata, said: “As Pakistan’s leading ground handler, we constantly enhance our offering to best meet the needs of our customers. We are confident that our airline partners will welcome the expansion of our portfolio and take advantage of getting quality and safe ground handling and technical services from a single provider. Our team of highly trained, seasoned professionals will deliver world-class quality and safety for our valued customers.”

Mick Hills, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance at flydubai, said: “We are looking forward to expanding our relationship with Gerry’s dnata to include line maintenance services in Pakistan. Having a single, local provider to oversee our line maintenance, as well as ground handling, will add more efficiencies to our fleet management and ensure a quicker turnaround of our aircraft.”

Gerry’s dnata have the capability to handle the following aircraft types for scheduled, unscheduled and AOG services:

  • Airbus A319/A320/A321 NEO (CFM LEAP-1A)
  • Airbus A318/319/320/321 (CFM56)
  • Airbus A319/320/321 (IAE V2500)
  • Airbus A330 (RR RB 211 Trent 700)
  • Airbus A330 (GE CF6)
  • Boeing B737-600/700/800/900 (CFM56)

Over the past year, Gerry’s dnata has continued to enhance its operations and services to deliver the highest level of quality and safety and help airline customers safely transport passengers and precious cargo to and from Pakistan. It made significant investments in infrastructure, technology and equipment, including the opening of a new, state-of- the-art cargo facility in Lahore which doubled the company’s cargo handling capacity at the airport.

Gerry’s dnata’s quality of service helped it win or retain over 20 contracts with key accounts across its network. The company also achieved prestigious industry certifications, including GDP and IATA’s ISAGO accreditation, which validate its capabilities and place the business in a market leading position.

Gerry’s dnata serves more than 20 airline customers at seven Pakistani airports. The company’s team consists of over 2,500 dedicated aviation professionals who assist more than seven million passengers and handle 150,000 tons of cargo annually.

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Gabor Vasarhelyi
Public Relations, dnata