ANC in the days before the 747-400 and A340-200/300 used to be a frequent stop for airliners flying from the US East Coast to Asia. That was why Boeing developed at Pan Am's request the 747SP--a plane that could fly JFK
was also heavily used by European airlines flying to Asia before the 1990's when access to Soviet airspace was generally unavailable.
is not commonly used as a refuelling stop unless you're flying from eastern North American cities (YYZ
, etc.) all the way to HKG
and beyond in Southeast Asia. With the arrival of the 777-200LR and the A340-500, even that may become obselete by 2010.
The big business at ANC
nowadays is air cargo--747 Freighter versions and the MD
-11F can't fly non-stop between the USA and Asian destinations, so they use ANC
as a refuelling and cargo trans-shipment point. Indeed, Northwest Airlines' cargo division is based at ANC
, and is a very large operation. It will be very interesting to see how the A380-800F--which can fly from MEM
non-stop on a full load of palletized cargo--will change ANC
's air cargo operations after 2010.