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A fox roaming around the runways at St. John's International Airport caused a bit of trouble for a couple of flights last month.
According to a pair of incident reports recently filed to Transport Canada’s Civil Aviation Daily Occurrence Reporting System, wildlife on a runway forced an Exploits Valley Air Services flight from Gander to pull up from a planned landing and pull around on Dec. 22. The tower also instructed a Jazz flight departing for Montreal to abort takeoff clearance due to the presence of wildlife on the departure runway.
A spokeswoman for St. John's International Airport Authority (SJIAA) confirmed to The Telegram both incidents involved the same animal — a fox — and took place minutes apart near midnight on Dec. 22.
"Field maintenance were on scene at the time and reported the wildlife activity to our on-site emergency services personnel, who dispatched a person to scare the animal. The animal got scared and left the airfield," the spokeswoman said in an emailed statement to The Telegram.
SJIAA has implemented a wildlife management plan to reduce risks associated with the presence of animals. The spokeswoman said staff regularly keep an eye out for wildlife and are trained to watch for and report any animals spotted near the airfield. Staff conduct wildlife patrols multiple times daily, and some measures have been implemented to deter animals from taking an interest in the airfield.
"With an airfield of 989,000 square metres, it’s not uncommon to engage with occasional wildlife. For that reason, we have a full-time wildlife and environment officer who monitors for wildlife multiple times a day, and also a field maintenance crew that do regular checks of the airfield."
She stated SJIAA has not noticed any fox on the airfield since the incident in December.