JFK Airport Freezes, Floods, and Leads to Travel Chaos

Continued chaos at JFK airport as two planes collide on the runway, prompting a Kuwait-bound flight's cancellation

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Flooding due to a burst water main forced the suspension of global flight arrivals at New York's John F Kennedy worldwide airport on Sunday, adding to the misery of travelers after a "bomb cyclone" winter storm canceled or delayed hundreds of flights.

JFKIAT said January 8 the water main break on the west side of the arrivals hall impacted 10 incoming flights to T4, adding the terminal "was completely operational within four hours after the water main break as a result of JFKIAT working closely with local agencies and authorities as well as on-site emergency maintenance personnel".

The break reportedly flooded Terminal 4, but few details have been released, and the extent of the flooding is unknown.

After three days of flight disruptions due to the 'bomb cyclone, ' a water main break caused a further shutdown of worldwide flights into Terminal 4 Sunday.

The burst pipe caused 3 inches of water to flood the arrivals area of Terminal 4, which services Delta and 30 global airlines, before it cascaded onto the roadway, where it froze, Cotton said.

"The Port Authority is committed to providing the highest caliber of service to all travelers and we will hold those responsible accountable for any shortcomings we find", Cotton said. Flights headed to NY were forced to turn back, and connecting flights that were only supposed to bring passengers to NY for a brief stay were grounded indefinitely.

Global flights to Terminal 4 have been suspended, he said.

Reuters
Reuters

The airport was already experiencing up to two and a half hour-long delays for arrivals, according to flight tracking website FlightAware.

According to a witness who spoke with the Daily News, one flight cancellation led to a "near riot" among angry passengers in Terminal 4 on Saturday night - to the point that police had to be called in.

A day after the airport reopened, the bottleneck after operations resumed was so severe that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) limited the number of flights destined for three of the airport's terminals on Saturday. It also serves at Delta's global hub.

Tempers flared at the luggage carousel, where travelers waited for hours and posted pictures on social media of bags piling up. "That was kind of weird", said Mona Bismuth, 27, a passenger. The baggage situation has become dire as Rachel Greene continues to wait for her luggage since four in the morning.

Travellers have faced a series issues, including frozen equipment breakdowns, difficulties in baggage handling, staff shortages, and heavier than typical passenger loads, the port authority said. The airline said it was working with authorities in NY to investigate.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of NY said JFK officials should have foreseen some of the problems. "The delays were so bad, they weren't going to be able to leave until Sunday, Jan. 7", Stephenson said, so the clients eventually canceled.

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