Port Authority announces new winter storm rules for JFK Airport after January chaos

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JFK Airport has implemented new rules for dealing with winter storms after chaos broke out during a massive winter storm early January, the Port Authority announced Monday.

More than 6,000 flights were canceled or delayed due to the "bomb cyclone" winter storm that hit New York on Jan. 4. Thousands of passengers were stranded and separated from their luggage.

"...What happened in January cannot and will not happen again," Port Authority Aviation Director Huntley Lawrence said.

One of the problems, according to Senator Chuck Schumer, was that 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.

"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.

Planes will no longer be allowed to land at JFK during storms unless they have a specific gate assigned to them. Every airline serving the airport will now be required to have a baggage service office that meets international best practice standards.

A JFK Emergency Operating Center was established in late January. The EOC will operate on a 24/7 basis for the duration of any storm and coordinates between airlines, terminal operators, and ground handling organizations. It will also improve communications to passengers and the public.

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