Operations at JFK Airport slowly return to normal

The Port Authority said it was deploying additional staff and providing buses to assist travelers.

The Port Authority says a water pipe that feeds the terminal's sprinkler system broke at about 2 p.m. Sunday, causing water to flood the terminal.

There was more misery for those trying to get through JFK Airport in New York Sunday as a water main break forced the closure of Terminal 4 and took with it 38 gates, a lot of them used for worldwide flights.

"A surge in flights at JFK Airport, produced by the rescheduling of delayed flights, combined with the effects of the winter storm, which severely disabled equipment, has resulted in terminal operators and airlines experiencing delays in getting planes and their passengers into their gates", the Port Authority said in a statement. After the flooding began, power to the affected areas of the terminal was shut off for safety reasons.

More delays have been added Sunday to the storm-related aftermath the already beleaguered airport is working to recover from.

Passengers faced a fresh headache when a water main break flooded the baggage claim area and Customs hall of Terminal 4 and halted worldwide arrivals. Departures were not impacted.

"Due to a water main break at #JFK Terminal 4 there are flight delays". That sent approximately three inches of water into the terminal's west end. Video shows streams cascading from a ceiling and people slogging through pools of water. A succession of flights had been cancelled and thousands of passengers stranded before the incident, adding to a tense situation in a terminal that had already seen scuffles and hours-long waits at baggage claim to retrieve belongings.

While all runways and taxiways had been ploughed clear of snow and reopened by Sunday, inbound flights faced 21/2-hour delays as the federal and local authorities carefully managed the flow of traffic at New York City's main worldwide travel gateway, according to the US Federal Aviation Administration's website.

  • Eleanor Harrison