The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey issued an update yesterday on current conditions at JFK Airport.
“What happened at JFK was completely unacceptable and we will investigate what went wrong and prevent it from happening again,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “The primary problem appears to be international airlines arriving without available gates at the international terminals, but we will thoroughly review all aspects of what happened leading up to and during the snowstorm, and the recovery period afterwards. We are fully committed to finding out what caused the failures and preventing them from happening again.”
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton and Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence met with Port Authority staff and international terminal operators and airline partners to discuss the events of the past weekend and the current situation at the airport.
Below is an update based on those discussions.
John F. Kennedy International Airport is currently open with all four runways operational. As of early this afternoon, the majority of flights were on or close to schedule. At approximately 3:30 p.m., the FAA instituted a selective ground stop to help manage the air traffic volume into JFK based on anticipated weather conditions to ensure there were adequate gates for arriving flights.
Inclement winter weather including snow, sleet and freezing rain is expected through the early evening hours.
With respect to this storm, the Port Authority will aggressively examine the coordination and preparation by airlines, terminal operators, and Port Authority staff to assure, in particular, that international flights not experience international gate congestion similar to what occurred this weekend.
The Port Authority has also been in close contact with FAA officials, who will support as needed to meter the rate of flights into the airport. The agency has brought in additional staff and equipment to assist the airlines and terminal operators as necessary.
Passengers are urged to contact their airlines for specific flight information before heading to the airport and to leave extra time to access terminal gates.
Terminal 4 Water Leak
The water leak yesterday that occurred at JFK’s Terminal 4, which is operated by a private operator, has largely been remedied. Roadways for both arrivals and departures are open, baggage handling is fully operational and U.S. Customs operations are nearly fully restored.
Two elevators and two escalators, along with one section within the Customs and Border Protection arrivals and processing area, remain out of service. PANYNJ expects those back in operation within 24 hours.
Recovery of Airport Operations
Domestic airlines have expedited the process of returning baggage to customers including dedicated phone lines for customers. The Port Authority has directed that all such bags should be on their way to customers by the end of today. The Port Authority has directed international carriers expedite their baggage return operations as well.
The Port Authority has deployed additional customer service representatives to assist with passenger communications.
Based on a review of check in and rebooking operations at JFK Terminal 4 earlier today, agency officials also have told Terminal 4 representatives that rebooking operations at Air India, Etihad, and Emirates are unacceptable and must be improved.
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