NEW YORK, January 8, 2018 — The surprise winter storm that is hitting the East Coast, including New York is causing massive problems for the JFK Airport. A frozen water pipe burst and partially flooded Terminal 4, which is the hub for international arrivals.
JFK Airport officials temporarily shut down the arrivals and the Customs and Border Patrol area. The burst pipe soaked travelers luggage and led to a partial evacuation of the terminal.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton says that the pipe burst around 2 p.m. EST, airport officials cut off power to the affected area as a safety precaution.
“What happened at JFK Airport is unacceptable, and travelers expect and deserve better,” Cotton said.
Cotton says that delays could last for several days. The airport is already facing dozens of flight cancellations because of the winter storm that has blanketed the East Coast for days.
Departing flights were taking off but Terminal 4 is shutting down. A few hours later, airport officials say incoming flights were beginning again, but they are expecting delays.
JFK Airport has 55 canceled flights and 200 delayed flights, says Flight Aware. Cotton says that a number of issues plagued the airport.
“The winter storm was so strong on Thursday that the airport had to close. Operations went smoothly on Friday,” he said. “But on Saturday, bluntly, a serious breakdown occurred because the terminal operators and the airlines didn’t coordinate to ensure enough gates were available for incoming and outgoing aircraft.”
The NY & NJ Port Authority officials are launching an investigation into this fiasco, to determine who is responsible. The weather caused the problem, but officials are looking at why the pipes are not weather protected.
Port Authority officials say airlines are now working rebooking passengers and locating travelers luggage.