A developing travel nightmare at JFK Airport stretched into a second day Friday, with all inbound and outbound flights at the New York City hub’s international terminal halted — at least for the rest of the day and possibly longer.
The spat began mid-morning Thursday, when JFK Airport first tweeted about a “power outage” causing some terminal changes for departures and arrivals. Four hours later, it acknowledged that the problem at Terminal 1, which serves more than a dozen international airlines and accounts for 8.5% of the airport’s total gates, was escalating.
The outage was expected to be resolved early to mid-morning on Friday, but JFK Airport tweeted shortly before midnight that the terminal would remain closed for the rest of the day. There was no update on when it might open again.
According to the Port Authority, “an electrical panel malfunction, which also caused a small isolated fire overnight that was immediately extinguished,” caused the power problem. Travelers are advised to contact their airline.
And as of Friday morning, the FAA’s website indicated the shutdown could last into late Saturday afternoon.
Passengers stranded at the terminal say they don’t know where to go.
“I’m not quite sure what’s going on – no one is aware of the situation, or so it seems,” said frustrated passenger Anthony Russo, who was hoping to make it to London. “I had a lot planned, I was going to see some friends, and now I don’t know what’s going on.”
JFK Terminal 1 serves Aeroflot, Aero Mexico, Air China, Air France, AirPlus Comet, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, Cayman Airways, China Airlines, China Eastern, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Olympic, Royal Air Maroc, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish.
As of Thursday night, the airlines were handwriting their flight cancellations because the big electronic board still wasn’t there. They gave passengers flyers. One from Lufthansa began, “Unfortunately, your flight has been cancelled.”
Some travelers said their delayed flights won’t depart for days, jeopardizing their travel plans or forcing them to cancel altogether. It’s the latest chaos-causing problem to befall JFK, though two recent problems have involved air traffic control.
SWAPA, the union representing Southwest Airlines pilots, says the way Southwest routes are designed is part of the reason the airline has had such a hard time recovering from winter weather delays and cancellations.