Company applies to build air cargo staging area in Anchorage

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Chicago-based design firm has proposed building a $43 million air-cargo staging area on undeveloped land next to the FedEx hub at Anchorage's international airport.

VOA Associates has applied with Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport to build 10 to 14 jumbo jet parking stalls on the 40-acre site, said Lee Nunn, an Anchorage contractor handling VOA's Alaska operations.

Most stalls would accommodate Boeing 747s, the air-cargo industry's biggest workhorse. Some stalls might be larger to handle a next generation of larger jets, including the Airbus A380 under development, he said.

VOA is not the first to look at the land. Other air-cargo developers have found it too expensive to develop the site. The land is covered with a 15-foot peat layer that would cost millions of dollars just to grade, said Ken Lythgoe, general manager of Alaska CargoPort, a freight warehousing and jet parking center at the north end of the airport.

''My personal experience tells me that the site is 10 to 15 years away from being developed,'' he said.

Mort Plumb, director of the state-owned airport, said he is happy to see interest in expanding the airport's cargo operations, but stressed the airport is still in the early stages of reviewing the proposal.

Nunn said VOA plans to develop the site on behalf of clients he would not name.

The idea is to provide an area for air carriers to refuel, swap cargo between planes, store equipment and do other ground operations. No warehousing would be built, he said.

VOA hopes to begin parking planes at the site in two years, he said, although it depends on the airport review.

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