Ray LaHood At JFK Airport

Mike Smeltz/WCBS 880

LaHood Offers Solutions To Prevent Another Post-Snowstorm Fiasco At JFK

May 31, 2018 - 3:24 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- John F. Kennedy International Airport was an absolute mess this past January, when a snowstorm hit and a water pipe burst.

Travel was disrupted for days, and caused thousands of pieces of luggage to go missing for weeks.

Now, solutions have been brought forward to ensure that doesn’t happen again.

“I got emails from people, wanting to know if I could find their bag, when they heard I was going to do an investigation,” said former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

LaHood said the misplacement of luggage, and then some of it going missing for weeks this past January, was frustrating. That probably feels like an understatement for anyone who had their luggage lost at JFK airport without any reasonable explanation.

“This cannot and will not be permitted to happen again,” LaHood said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey hired LaHood to run an independent investigation into making sure the luggage and delays fiasco is a one-off mess.

Most prominent among LaHood’s recommendations is the creation of an emergency operations center, which had already been put in place by the Port Authority.

JFK Airport Emergency Operations Center
Mike Smeltz/WCBS 880

The EOC brings together representatives from all the different organizations at JFK airport – the airlines, law enforcement, and mass transit – so that ahead of a storm those organizations can communicate and make decisions in one room, as opposed to the old way where each was siloed off from the other.

LaHood said the increased communication has already paid off dividends and will only get stronger over time.