The tragic shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines jet over Ukraine brought the world’s attention to the safety of the airspace above that country. Flightradar24.com has a website which shows the real time commercial air traffic around the world. The area ‘north of 56’ is a major thoroughfare for air traffic from the eastern seaboard to Asia.
Looking at the northern third of North America at one moment in time (10AM PST 18-Jul-2014) a few observations:
Ted Stevens International Airport (Anchorage) has about 2.3 million commercial passenger boardings per year, Fairbanks about 435,000 and Juneau 345,000. Whitehorse airport handled 294,000 passengers in 2012. Yellowknife airport handled 527,000 passengers in 2007.
Iqaluit handled 120,000 passengers in 2011. Its airport is being rebuilt.
On average Alaska has most of the air traffic over its land base, as borne out by this little exercise. This makes sense in that more than 1/2 of the population ‘north of 56’ resides in Alaska.