Merrill Field

General Information

Merrill Field is an enterprise activity of the Municipality of Anchorage. The municipal airport is operated under the provisions of Title 11, Chapter 11.60 of the Anchorage Municipal Code.

About Merrill Field Airport

Established in 1930 and located one mile east of downtown Anchorage on 436 acres of land, Merrill Field was the first real airport in the city. The airport bears the name of Russel Hyde Merrill, an early Alaskan aviator who disappeared in September 1929 on a flight to Bethel. The first aviation beacon in the Territory of Alaska was located at Merrill Field and was dedicated on September 25, 1932 to the honor of Russ Merrill.


The mission of Merrill Field Airport is to provide an environment that meets the needs of the general aviation community, to encourage private business and to promote economic development while maintaining a viable financial position and being a good neighbor within the community.

General Aviation

Being a “General Aviation Airport”, Merrill Field restricts aircraft using the airport to 12,500 pounds or less. The Airport provides six taxiways and three runways: Runway 7/25 is 4,000 ft. long, Runway 16/34 is 2,640 ft. and the gravel/ski Runway 4/22 is 2,000 ft.


Merrill Field is 137 feet above sea level.


Merrill Field has ranked among the busiest airports in the nation for several years. Activity peaked in 1984 when the field was ranked 15th in the nation. In 2010, Merrill Field was the 72nd busiest airport in the nation with 144,892 flight operations.

Compass Rose

The Compass Rose is located off the west end of Runway 7/25.  Before entering the area, read these Use Requirements and Procedures (pdf).


3,105,000 square feet of Airport property was under lease in 2010. There are 36 commercial leaseholds; some sublease part or all of their property. There are approximately 46 aviation related businesses operating from Merrill Field.

Private Plots

There are 8,165 licensed pilots in Alaska; 3,617 (44%) reside in Anchorage.

Fuel Sold

There were 669,677 gallons of fuel pumped at Merrill Field in 2010.

General Aviation Aircraft

There are 10,891 registered aircraft in Alaska; 877 are based at Merrill Field.

Transient Aircraft

505 transient aircraft stayed a total of 2220 days during 2010. An average stay was four days.


There are 1,230 tiedown spaces at Merrill Field; the Municipality manages 511, the leaseholders 651, and 51 spaces are reserved for transient aircraft parking.

Aircraft Wash

During the summer, two bays are located on the southeast corner of the blue & gold MaintenanceBuilding. Cold water is free and hot water is available from a coin operated dispenser. An electrical outlet is available.

Hospital Access

Quebec taxiway is extended through to Alaska Regional Hospital for easy access for medevacs. Medevacs can taxi right up to the hospital. This saves the costly extra step of dispatching an ambulance to the airport.

Air Traffic Control Tower

The Federal Aviation Administration constructed a new control tower along East 5th Avenue. Standing 116 feet tall, the FAA facility is a significant landmark as people enter or exit the city. The tower was commissioned in October, 1999.

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