Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Air alert over map route to runway

Apple reactivated maps app directions that guide drivers to the edge of a runway instead of Fairbanks International Airport

Alaska transport chiefs have sent a warning to pilots after Apple reactivated maps app directions that guide drivers to the edge of a runway instead of an airport terminal.

Apple had told Fairbanks International Airport officials that the faulty directions had been disabled. But airport o fficials noticed the app had returned to giving the misguided directions on Friday and was also providing another route that leads to the taxiway.

They do not know why the app was reactivated with more faulty directions.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, did not immediately return a message for comment.

One person intentionally followed the directions yesterday, which presented a dangerous situation for pilots and drivers, said Angela Spears, division operations manager for the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Transport chiefs sent out a warning to pilots that the faulty directions were back on.

Previous directions on newer iPhones and iPads guided drivers to the edge of the tarmac instead of the correct route to the terminal. In incidents on September 6 and September 20, drivers went through a gate, past warning lights and signs, and then across an active runway, to reach the terminal.

There were no injuries since both incidents happened early in the morning between flights.

The first mishap involved a visitor trying to return a rental car before a flight and the second was an Alaska resident, not from Fairbanks, trying to get to the airport.

The airport has since barricaded that entrance to the taxiway. A sign posted there gives a phone number for people to call to get the correct directions to the airport.

After the first incident, airport authorities immediately attempted to contact Apple. The airport is a state facility and the Alaska attorney general's office also reached out to Apple's legal department to get the map fixed.

AP

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