November 19. 2007
Inclement weather led to major delays at the three local airports, while the Port Authority and airlines said they were taking steps to prevent delays for the rest of the week.
Bloomberg News With some two million passengers expected to take to the airways this week, New York area airports were already hampered Monday by inclement weather, low visibility and high winds.
The trifecta of bad weather led to flight delays of about an hour and 37 minutes at LaGuardia and Newark International airports Monday afternoon. John F. Kennedy International was seeing delays of about an hour.
The number of passengers traveling through JFK this Thanksgiving holiday week is expected to hit 728,000, while passengers at Newark will top 545,000 and passengers at LaGuardia Airport will total nearly 400,000, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees operations at the three local airports.
President George W. Bush last week said he would open up a channel of restricted military airspace to allow more planes passage on what he called the “Thanksgiving Express.”
The Port Authority says it’s ready for the influx of holiday fliers. “As we have for the past several years, we’re going to have all hands on deck,” said Port Authority spokesman Pasquale DiFuclo.
Airlines have ramped up their staffs and are putting other measures into place in an effort to keep travelers moving along.
“The onslaught has been with us since Thursday,” said American Airlines spokesman Ned Raynolds, who said the airline has increased its staff by about 20% at New York airports for the holiday week. American is also holding back some seats on each of its planes for passengers who may have missed earlier connecting flights, and make sure seats left vacant by delayed passengers are filled by those waiting.
Continental Airlines is also beefing up its staff at area airports, while United Airlines has added 140 Easy Check-in kiosks at airport gates so passengers experiencing delays or cancellations can be re-booked and get new boarding passes without having to go through security again.
Source: CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS