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JFK chaos after snowstorm can’t happen again, Schumer says

Some passengers are still without their luggage after the snarling storm earlier this month, according to Sen. Charles Schumer.

Sen. Charles Schumer said communication between Port Authority,

Sen. Charles Schumer said communication between Port Authority, JFK terminal operators and foreign airlines must improve. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

Sen. Charles Schumer denounced international airlines and the Port Authority Monday for a lack of communication following the chaos at Kennedy Airport earlier this month, saying some passengers are still without their luggage.

Schumer said foreign airlines, the Port Authority and airport’s terminal operators need to come up with a plan to prevent the breakdown from happening again.

The busy hub struggled to recover from the snowstorm earlier this month: 94 flights were canceled, baggage claim machines froze, passengers were stranded on the runway for hours, the wing of one plane hit the tail of another, and a water main break flooded Terminal 4 with three inches of standing water.

“Make no mistake, there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to what happened at JFK, but some of that blame squarely lands on a lack of communication between foreign airlines that flooded JFK with flights and the entities that manage the airport,” Schumer said in a statement on Monday. “It was this lack of communication that helped to create the chaos at Kennedy and it is only through improving this system that we will prevent this from happening again.”

Last week, the Port Authority said that former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood would lead the investigation.

Schumer said the U.S. Department of Transportation should put “federal pressure on foreign airlines to work with the Port Authority to come up with a better communication plan for the airport that can prevent this kind of winter chaos from snowballing in the future.”

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