Barrow’s airport is back in the news this time on Thursday for polar bears. And dealing with polar bears on a taxiway is complicated, because they’re a protected species. Airport workers can’t chase them off.
However it was 3 degrees with 33 mile per hour winds. And it’s dark the whole day up in Barrow now. When the polar bears saw the headlights of an airport worker’s truck they ran off. They returned a few hours later, and animal control was called.
Polar bears on the airfield are a huge safety concern for their safety as well as those who work at the airport. Lots of things could go wrong very quick if someone stepped outside a building and encountered one of these guys especially if they were backed up against a fence. Animal control was called and they dealt with them.
Barrow has a couple of daily Alaska Airlines 737s to Anchorage and Fairbanks. Ravn Connect, operated by Hageland Aviation, flies two peak daily prop plane departures to each of Point Lay, Atqasuk, Nuiqsut and Wainwright, Alaska. None of these flights were delayed by the bears since they ran off and then were removed promptly.
Sheep and goats graze on the grounds of Chicago O’Hare to trim the grass. Two years ago an Alaska Airlines flight landed on a deer on the runway in Santa Rosa, California.
But things like this seem to happen a bit more often in Barrow. And I do continue to call it Barrow, at least as long as Alaska Airlines does. Voters there chose to rename their city Utqiaġvik in October. It’s a divisive issue, even involving a lawsuit, but the airport code remains BRW and pilots are cleared to approach Barrow. So for aviation-related stories it remains Barrow for now (plus I have no idea how to pronounce Utqiaġvik).