PANY&NJ introduces interim measures at JFK Airport to better address operational issues

    Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANY&NJ) executive director Rick Cotton announced (18-Jan-2018) a series of interim measures at New York JFK International Airport (JFK) following the events stemming from the winter storm on 04-Jan-2018. The measures aim to immediately address factors that contributed to issues ranging from inbound international carrier traffic, gate availability and wait times, communication to passengers, ground equipment failures and baggage repatriation, among others. The interim measures include the following:

    • JFK Emergency Operations Centre (EOC): Prior to the start of any significant storm, JFK will activate the EOC on the airport grounds, operating on a 24/7 basis for the duration of any storm and all recovery operations;
    • Mutual aid: All JFK terminal operators, airlines and other key members of the airport community are being directed to commit to a mutual aid framework that will enable the expeditious provision of assistance from one entity to another during emergencies;
    • Communications to passengers: EOC will coordinate customer communications, establishing operating procedures to assure stakeholders, passengers and the PANY&NJ’s JFK staff are providing accurate, frequent and consistent communications to:
      • The general public, including those planning to come to the airport;
      • Passengers in terminals;
      • Passengers on aircraft;
    • Inbound traffic: During storm emergencies, when the EOC is activated it will issue formal notifications to terminal operators to manage the rate of incoming flight activity;
    • Gate assignment and wait times: During storm emergencies, the EOC will coordinate with terminal operators to ensure that all inbound flights are assigned a gate based on the aircraft’s estimated on block time no later than one hour prior to the aircraft’s scheduled landing;
    • Gate availability: For situations in which an inactive aircraft is occupying a gate that needs to be made available for incoming flights, the terminal operator shall request the airline to relocate the aircraft;
    • Baggage repatriation: PANY&NJ is directing airlines, terminal operators, ground handlers and baggage delivery companies to develop and implement near term improvements to their baggage repatriation operations during and after a storm;
    • Ground equipment: PANY&NJ is directing all terminal operators and ground handlers to develop both near term improvements and comprehensive longer term plans to ensure that 1) ground handling equipment is well maintained to operate during cold weather conditions, and 2) sufficient spare equipment is available to replace equipment that fails to operate due to cold weather conditions;
    • Staffing: PANY&NJ is directing all terminal operators, airlines and ground handling contractors and their subcontractors to take immediate steps to ensure they have sufficient staffing in place to meet anticipated demand during severe weather events and to make longer term recommendations that would address systemic staffing vulnerabilities. PANY&NJ will also work with the Kennedy International Airport Airline Managers Committee to develop a plan to improve employee transportation options to JFK during severe weather;
    • Facility inspections: PANY&NJ is directing all terminal operators to complete inspections of all pipe and plumbing components within their facilities to ensure they are properly protected from winter weather conditions. [more – original PR]