Drivers Keeps Crossing Alaskan Airport Runway Because They’re Using Apple Maps

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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An airport in Alaska has contacted Apple Inc. because drivers following directions from Apple Maps keep crossing the runway at Fairbanks International Airport, but Apple has yet to fix the issue.

Apple Maps users are being directed onto Taxiway Bravo. Although the app doesn’t specifically tell them to cross an airport runway, the terminal is just on the other side.

“Both parties that did it said they were following the directions on their iPhone,” said a representative for Fairbanks International Airport.

On Sept. 7, airport officials asked Apple to eliminate the dangerous “shortcut,” according to the Alaska Dispatch. Apple agreed to take care of the issue but has not taken any action.

A second runway crossing incident occurred since then on Sept. 20.

Once Apple Maps puts the driver on Taxiway B, the driver looks up and sees the terminal, and then proceeds right across.

Alaska Rep. Les Gara reportedly almost made the same mistake on Aug. 17, when rushing to the Faribanks Airport. Gara, however, chose not to get onto the general aviation ramp.

“It told me to make a right onto the small plane runway, which in fact was the shortest way to get to the big airport,” Gara said. “I give the iPhone app credit for that.”

“These folks drove past several signs,” Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the Fairbanks airport, told Alaska Dispatch. “They even drove past a gate. None of that cued them that they did something inappropriate.”

The airport’s marketing director, Angie Spear, said people unfamiliar with the area use blind faith when following the app.

“No matter what the signs say, the map on their iPhone told them to proceed this way,” Spear said.

“We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,” Osborn said.

A “lot of legal speak” ensued, Spear claimed.

Apple said the app would be fixed by Wednesday, but as of Tuesday afternoon it was still directing visitors onto the runway.

Barricades have now been put in place at Fairbanks and airmen were notified. Officials say they will not remove the barricade until the app is fixed.

Sources: Alaska Dispatch, Newser