Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

Global flights to JFK airport reduced amid backlog

Global flights to JFK airport reduced amid backlog

A water main break flooded a baggage claim area at New York's JFK International Airport on Sunday afternoon, delaying international fights into Terminal 4 and soaking luggage. At 4:30 p.m., the Port Authority reported power and heat were out in about 80 percent of the west end of Terminal 4 - the very arrivals section that was affected by the water main break.

New York JFK International Airport experienced a cascade of operational calamities in terminals 1 and 4 over the weekend, as it struggled to deal with extremely cold weather and a water main break that caused extensive flooding, flight delays and cancellations.

In a statement, Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said the break "appeared to be weather-related" and called it "unacceptable".

The burst pipe caused 3 inches of water to flood the arrivals area of Terminal 4, which services Delta and 30 worldwide airlines, before it cascaded onto the roadway, where it froze, Cotton said. The authority said it will "hold those responsible accountable for any shortcomings we find".

As of Sunday night, more than 500 flights had been canceled or delayed arriving and departing the airport, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.

The situation added to the misery piled on travelers after a winter storm blasted NY on Thursday.

JFK's T4 is managed by a private operator, JFK International Air Terminal LLC (JFKIAT), which is owned by Schiphol USA Inc., a US affiliate of Amsterdam-based Schiphol Group.

Multiple factors have contributed to the delays, including the accumulation of more than a foot of snow in areas of Queens on Thursday, below freezing temperatures Friday, an airport at its maximum capacity and a collision of two planes on the JFK runway early Saturday morning, according to aviation analyst Alex Macheras.

Tensions are running high among thousands of stranded passengers, some of whom have spent the last three nights at the airport.

Earlier in the day at least 12 global flights were waiting for a gate at John F. Kennedy worldwide Airport in NY this afternoon, according to Flightradar24, amid a backlog of flights following the powerful snowstorm that tore through the Northeast Thursday. Customers are experiencing delays, especially for global flights. The incident also forced the suspension of worldwide arrivals at the terminal.

While the Port Authority says trains are running on time and planes are regulalrly taking off, transportation officials continue to face new challenges, including frozen and malfunctioning equipment.

The extreme cold and recovery from Thursday's snowstorm created a "cascading series of issues for the airlines and terminal operators", the Port Authority said.

"There's still like a hundred people waiting for their luggage", he told AFP. Chuck Schumer is calling for a thorough review of what went wrong.

Media report said, the deep freeze follows a winter storm which has been dubbed a "bomb cyclone" by forecasters, and is blamed for at least 19 deaths in the US.

"I couldn't wait two weeks", she said.

Worldwide terminal operators intend to reunite passengers still in New York City with lost baggage by Tuesday morning, he said.

"When the flight was suspended, I literally cried", she said.

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