JFK Owner Vows to Review Airport Operations After the Bomb Cyclone

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey vows to investigate the fiasco of canceled flights, chaos and ‘near riot’ conditions at New York’s JFK International Airport over the weekend.
The agency, which owns JFK and monitors transportation in the metropolitan New York region, announced that it would work with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make sure such unsafe conditions never occur again.
“What happened over the weekend was a completely unacceptable performance, said Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority in an interview with US News and World Report.
Harsh weather conditions caused by a winter storm commonly called a “bomb cyclone” blanketed the northeast in what was called an epic storm surge of historic proportions. The intensity of the bomb cyclone caught many carriers off guard.
JFK was officially closed on Thursday and set to re-open in the early afternoon. This would normally be enough time to plan for reopening, but the storm worsened to white-out conditions. JFK officials then gave an 8PM opening time which they could not keep. Meanwhile, international flights headed to JFK with the anticipation that the airport would open to accommodate incoming flights. However, JFK reopened the following morning causing incoming flights to be re-routed to cities as far away as Minneapolis and Atlanta, reported the New York Post.
In addition, the weather conditions caused massive crowds, numerous rescheduled flights, and equipment failure at JFK.
Flightradar24, a website which tracks flights, reported that over 70 planes had been left on the tarmac for up to 48 hours.
Many travelers understood that the weather conditions were an issue, but most complained that there was, for the most part, a general lack of communication from JFK airport officials.
Cotton vowed to hire outside consultants and investigators to examine and improve communication and contingency plans.
It is estimated that over 6,000 hopeful passengers filled the airport waiting for information on flights, sleeping in piles on the airport floor with numerous physical altercations reported.
“Delayed my trip by three days,” posted petersmadre, who like many other frustrated travelers took to social media to report the chaos. “Now at JFK, it’s a sea of people trying to rebook, checking bags, sleeping everywhere, sitting in wheelchairs…”
Already, industry experts have pointed to the structure of terminal operations at JFK. Six passenger terminals operate independently without any coordinated efforts or centralized decision maker.
The Port of Authority said in a statement it would review the airport’s policies and procedures to assure that both planes and passengers get to their gates in the aftermath of any and all severe weather conditions.

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Phil Lankers

About the Author: Phil Lankers

From an early age, Phil knew he wanted to work in media Growing up in southern California., the television in the Lankers household was always on and tuned to CNN morning, noon and night. But Phil still managed to find time to spend the summers on golf courses and the winter on the ski hills. Aaron graduated from the University of Victoria with a major in political science and a minor in history. Contact Phil here

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