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“Security incident” at JFK airport latest blow to Fourth of July travelers

A “security incident” at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport in New York City on Sunday led to suspended service at one of its terminals, and left airport officials warning travelers to expect delays.

“Due to a security incident, arrivals and departure levels at Terminal 4 remain closed to inbound traffic. Please expect traffic delays and allow additional travel time,” the airport wrote on Twitter just before noon.

In a tweet about 30 minutes later, however, the airport said that the security incident had been “cleared.”

“Arrivals and departure level roadways at Terminal 4 have reopened. Please expect residual traffic delays and allow additional travel time,” the airport wrote.

Gothamist reported that the incident at JFK involved an unattended bag. A spokesperson for the Port Authority, which manages the airport, told the publication that a bomb squad determined that there was no explosive device inside.

Newsweek has reached out to the Port Authority for comment and additional details about the incident.

A “security incident” at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on Sunday led to suspended service at one of its terminals, and airport officials to warn travelers to expect delays. Above, a traveler stands at a kiosk inside the airport on April 19.
Spencer Platt

The incident and delays on Sunday come as airlines and travelers are seeing travel issues all over the country during the busy Fourth of July holiday weekend.

On Friday, more than 4,500 U.S. domestic and international flights had been delayed, according to data from FlightAware.

Meanwhile on Saturday, a computer glitch in American Airlines‘ system had allowed pilots to drop flights for the month of July, which left 12,000 flights without pilots. The flights included those scheduled for Sunday.

“We have become aware of a technical issue with our Trip Trade with Open Time System (TTOT),” American Airlines told ABC News at the time. “We understand these are important tools for our pilots and are working as quickly as possible. We will provide updates throughout the day as we learn more.”

In a second statement later on, American Airlines assured that the issue had been resolved, and that most of the affected flights had been restored. The company anticipated that there would not be “any operational impact because of this issue.” Despite assurances, the company did not specify how it had gone about restoring the flights.

U.S. flight cancellations between the beginning of the year and through the end of June have already exceeded the total number of flight cancellations that the country saw in 2021. The causes of the rash of recent cancellations include not enough staff members, such as pilots, and bad weather events. They also include airlines scheduling too many flights.

“Airlines have been over-zealous in their scheduling,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and adviser with Atmosphere Research Group, told Newsweek recently.

Harteveldt added that many pilots have taken retirement in recent years, and that not enough have been trained to replace them. “Airlines are doing all they can [to get new pilots], but it’s not a problem they can solve easily,” he said.



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