After last week's chaos at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which left passengers stranded and without their baggage, Sen.
Following the January 4 storm, passengers reported waiting up to five hours after landing for their planes to reach a gate so they could deboard. Hundreds of flights were canceled, a lack of available gates following the storm caused passengers to wait hours to deplane, thousands of fliers were separated from their luggage and the main global terminal temporarily closed after the cold caused a water pipe to burst.
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton apologized for the breakdown and called it "completely unacceptable". "Federal pressure on foreign airlines to work with the Port Authority to come up with a better communication plan for the airport can help prevent this kind of winter chaos from snowballing in the future".
Schumer said that while many factors led to the situation, the lack of communication between foreign airlines and the Port Authority intensified the chaos.
"Make no mistake, there is plenty of blame to go around when it comes to what happened at JFK, but some of that blame squarely lands on a lack of communication between foreign airlines that flooded JFK with flights and the entities that manage the airport", said Schumer.
The six terminals at JFK are subcontracted by the airlines and managed by independent operators.
The Port Authority recently announced that it was conducting a thorough investigation of the situation.
"This system is broken... there's not enough technology involved at JFK", he said.
Kennedy International Airport is paralyzed by the winter weather owing ot cancelled flights, equipment issues among other things and this has had a negative impact on the luggage handling capabilities of the airport. Schumer said that DOT has the strongest leverage over foreign airlines because they issue Foreign Air Carrier Certificates that allow foreign airlines to fly in the United States, and that as such the agency should make sure foreign airlines are doing everything in their power to improve communication and coordination systems with JFK. "It's my firm belief that part of the reason for that is that foreign airlines simply do not have the same level of cooperation, coordination, and communication with ground control operations".