JFK Airport water pipe break weather-related


When operations resumed on Friday, the backlog led to hundreds more delays or cancellations, crowding terminals with stranded passengers.

First a "bomb cyclone" stranded some travelers for days.

It was a flood of water and a flood of misfortune for thousands and thousands of passengers trying to retrieve their luggage and get home.

"What happened at JFK Airport is unacceptable", admitted Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of NY and New Jersey, which is responsible for area airports.

Oddly enough, travel at New York's LaGuardia airport and the nearby Newark International Airport in New Jersey went off without a hitch following the blizzard.

Full flight activity has resumed at JFK Airport's Terminal 4 after a water main break caused chaos and suspended worldwide arrivals.

"There's still like a hundred people waiting for their luggage", he told AFP.

Airport Spokesman Scott Ladd said the water main break occurred just before 2 p.m.; the cause is being investigated.

Independent investigators and experts will be a part of that process, Cotton said. Customers are experiencing delays, especially for global flights.

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While Terminal 4 was fully open Monday, one entrance was blocked as a massive industrial-size fan tried to dry up the damage.

The incident started at 2pm when a water pipe that feeds the terminal's sprinkler system broke. Moments after the rupture, sheets of water cascaded from the ceiling onto passenger waiting areas.

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

"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", the executive director said. On Thursday, as the snow piled up and winds strengthened, the Port Authority announced that Kennedy would temporarily shut down.

The Port Authority expects the operator of Terminal 4 to reopen the closed arrivals area around 7 p.m. Sunday, Cotton said.

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. That additional flight volume, in concert with the extremely cold weather, clearly overwhelmed the airport. "We were told to leave the airport yesterday without ours", flier Lucy Wilkinson fumed in a tweet Monday.

Angry passengers took to Twitter to vent their frustration. In the meantime, it's not yet clear when operations will get back to normal at the airport, but temperatures are forecast to rise over the coming week, eliminating at least one reason for the trouble.

"Television footage showed water gushing down the walls and flooding a baggage area", Amy says.