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JFK airport tries to catch up after cascade of winter woes

JFK airport tries to catch up after cascade of winter woes

The terminal was accepting no worldwide arrivals for much of the afternoon, but around 7:45 p.m. ET, the airport said it was resuming operations. However, the airport is still issuing regular alerts saying: "There may be delays at JFK".

Frazzled travelers snoozed on floors and dozens of suitcases sat unclaimed as a welter of wintry problems - from a snowstorm to a burst water pipe - extended flight delays at Kennedy Airport into a fourth day Monday.

Frozen equipment, luggage-handling problems and staff shortages slowed down operations on the ground. Other flights were diverted.

The Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which oversees New York's airports, said airlines were rescheduling passengers but that near-record cold temperatures were adversely affecting equipment, further slowing the airport's recovery. As flights got backlogged, gates clogged up, and some arriving passengers waited on the tarmac for hours and ended up being bused to terminals. One plane even clipped another outside a terminal amid the hard conditions early Saturday.

Although the situation has improved, the weather and backlog of cancelled flights is still causing havoc today at JFK, with 27 of the 40 scheduled departing flights between 12am and 5.59am delayed.

Mariani Silva spent the night at JFK, after arriving around 7 p.m. Sunday for her flight home to Brazil.

"However, they were informed that this flight had been cancelled too and, furthermore, the airline was not prepared to cover further nights in the hotel, and was not going to send the coach to get them back to the airport, where they had been advised to leave their bags for the flight".

As of Sunday night, more than 500 flights had been cancelled or delayed, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

Passengers at JFK complained on social media that they were not able to retrieve their luggage as bags piled up at claims areas.

"This past weekend's events at New York's John F. Kennedy airport demonstrated in stunning detail the consequences of inadequate contingency planning and passenger communication at major global airports", said Greeley Koch, executive director of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. It also serves at Delta's global hub. For one, while the Port Authority oversees operations at the airport, and makes the call on whether to close the airport, separate terminals are leased by different parties: airlines and other consortiums.


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