Sen. Schumer calls on DOT to step in after Kennedy Airport chaos

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New York's senior senator wants the U.S Department of Transportation to create a new protocol for foreign airlines flying to the United States.

After the massive winter storm on January 4 and planes were grounded at New York's airports, chaos broke out at some of JFK's terminals when the storm cleared.

"Countless fliers were involved in travel hell when flights were cancelled, terminals flooded, luggage lost, not returned, no one knew where it was," Schumer said.

One of the problems, according to Senator Chuck Schumer, foreign airlines did not tell the Port Authority they were coming. The FAA had to know, but when the diverted or cancelled flights decided to go to JFK airport all at once, there were not enough gates or staff to handle the planes and luggage. Some fliers still have not received their bags.

"Planes landing on the JFK's tarmac became stranded because the gates were full but there was no communication to the terminals that all these flights were coming in," Schumer said Monday night.

According to Schumer, domestic airlines have a protocol in place for this. He is calling for better communication between the foreign airlines, the Port Authority and the private operators of the terminals.

Schumer wrote a letter to the US Department of Transportation Secretary asking her to wield the federal agency's power to require the foreign carriers to communicate with the airports.

The Port Authority released a statement tonight, reiterating their plan announced last week to investigate the post storm chaos.

According to a spokesperson, "The Port Authority has retained former US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to undertake a top to bottom review of the factors involved in the January 4th storm and its aftermath at JFK Airport. We have asked Secretary LaHood to determine what went wrong and to give us his recommendations on all steps necessary to prevent a recurrence."

PIX11 News is awaiting comment from the US Department of Transportation.

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