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Chaos And Frustration At JFK Airport

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It was utter chaos and frustration after flooding added to the woes at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport, which was already reeling from the impact of flight delays and cancellations caused by a massive snowstorm and freezing temperatures.

Frustrated passengers had to deal with long lines to re-book canceled flights and also retrieve their bags from mountains of luggage just days after the year's first snowstorm created a "cascading series of issues" for the airlines and terminal operators, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Frigid temperatures also resulted in failure of equipment at the airport and caused slower than normal operations.

Just as runways were cleared of snow and reopened on Sunday, a water pipe that feeds the sprinkler system in the privately-operated Terminal 4 broke in the afternoon.

Water from the broken pipe flooded the baggage claim area and customs hall of the terminal, resulting in power to the affected areas of the terminal being shut off for security reasons.

While domestic arrivals and departures as well as international departures from Terminal 4 were operating with delays, the arrival of international flights were halted. Some international flights destined for Terminal 4 were diverted or accommodated at other JFK terminals.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it will launch an investigation into the water pipe break, which "significantly disrupted" operations at Terminal 4.

"What happened at JFK Airport is unacceptable, and travelers expect and deserve better. While the water pipe break that occurred appears to be weather-related, we have launched an investigation into the incident to determine exactly what occurred and why an internal pipe was not weather protected and whether any other failures contributed to this disruption," said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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