An Unlikely World’s Busiest Airport

Case Study on Ted Stevens International Airport

May 2020

Last month due to the impact of the coronavirus, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) in Anchorage, Alaska, briefly became the busiest airport in the world.

ANC tweeted, “On Saturday, April 25, ANC was the world’s busiest airport for aircraft operations. This points to how significantly the global aviation system has changed and highlights the significance of our role in the global economy and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Photo courtesy of Ted Stevens International Airport’s Facebook Page

Typically, the title of busiest airport belongs to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Thanks to a great location, increased cargo flight demand, and decreased passenger flights, ANC took the top spot for a while and remains the busiest on Saturdays.

ControlTouch has a long history of successful projects at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. One project was the Recapitalization Project for Terminal C.

We were contracted to work alongside Daifuku-Logan to reorganize the terminal. The six original CTX 9000 EDSs were replaced with four CTX 9800 EDSs. Queues and Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) were added to maximize the throughput of the new machines.

As well as the updated EDS’s, the Checked Baggage Inspection System (CBIS) also gained a new MUXV2, OST Stations, and PTRI’s for support. To ensure streamlining and a safe system, the Checked Baggage Resolution Area (CBRA) was reconfigured to include an 11-inspection-station alarm line, a single clear line merging with the existing CL2 Line, a 2-inspection station out-of-gauge-line, and a reinsertion line.

To improve the read rates of baggage tags to 98% accuracy, four new Cognex combination Automatic Tag Readers (ATR) and two Baggage Measurement Arrays (BMA) replaced the existing system.


  • Maximized throughput with integrated CTX 9800 EDSs
  • Improved read-rate accuracy
  • TSA updated to PGDS 5.0 compliance at the time of the project


Due to the update of the TSA’s Planning Guidelines and Design Standards for Checked Baggage Handling Inspection System, ControlTouch provided controls engineering support and equipment to ensure the existing Checked Baggage Resolution Area (CBRA) was complicit. We replaced the BIT and BRP stations with a unified Baggage Status Display (BSD) running the new software. The Lower Level Subsystem was updated, changing the PLC code to incorporate control features for the Alarm Line Queuing.

Also, we have a service contract with ANC. We conduct a yearly system audit and provide phone, online, and in-person support to ensure the continued success of their system.


Let us show you our work and how we can help move your products more efficiently and effectively. We have Case Studies available for all the industries we serve – airports, parcel and post, warehouse and distribution, manufacturing, and water treatment.