Travel Tuesday: Expect less airplane noise in city as runway reopens
A busy runway at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage will reopen for smaller aircraft Tuesday, a move expected to lessen the amount of traffic and noise people have been hearing over the city over the past several weeks.
"The north-south runway will reopen, but it's going to be shortened," said Jim Szczesniak, airport manager. "Some of the larger airplanes are not going to be able to use that shortened runway. They will arrive and depart over the city, but it will help lessen the traffic over the city."
The airport is redoing its north-south runway -- which hasn't been repaved in 15 years. Jets have been rerouted over some neighborhoods not used to all the noise, prompting complaints from people living all around Anchorage, including the Anchorage Hillside.
"After summer construction season is over everything will return to normal," Szczesniak said. "We'll arrive and depart over the water."
The runway renovation will continue next summer and Anchorage residents can expect the same issue with more jets being rerouted over the city. Szczesniak said they're investing about $100 million in the airport's runways and taxiways over the next several years.
The airport is a bustling hub this time of year, serving as the main airport for people to fly in and out of Alaska. In the summertime, several airlines offer seasonal flights to and from Anchorage including Sun Country, JetBlue and American Airlines. The state's tourism industry is expecting nearly 2 million visitors this year, many of them arriving or departing from the airport.
"The average tourists spends about a $1,000 when they're inside the state," Szczesniak said. "That's really powerful economic stimulus for the state."
Year-round the airport provides stability for Anchorage's economy. It is responsible for 1 in 10 jobs in the Anchorage area, according to Szczesniak.
"The payroll of the employees that are essentially at the airport is over a billion dollars a year," he added.
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