New York – JFK operations affected by air traffic control tower water leak

Air traffic in the New York area was severely disrupted yesterday following a water leak at JFK Airport. The incident took place in the facility’s main air traffic control tower, with controllers moving to a secondary workspace. The disruption affected hundreds of flights yesterday, with delays and diversions at all levels.

The controllers returned to the main tower after a little over an hour. Photo: Getty Images

Caused by a water leak

The cause of the disruption turned out to be a “minor water leak” in the main New York JFK air traffic control tower. This forced the employees at this facility to be moved to a secondary tower to allow them to continue working safely. It happened after a build-up of water on the roof following rainy days earlier in the week.

The secondary facility did not allow the airport to operate at its usual capacity. As such, the FAA chose to prevent flights to New York from departing until at least 8 p.m. last night. Meanwhile, flights that were already in the air have been diverted to East Coast airports from Newark to Miami, according to Fox. The airport confirmed the Twitter this:

JFK controllers operate from a secondary control tower due to a minor water leak in the primary installation. Operations at this facility, combined with local weather, require more separation between aircraft. As such, the FAA withholds most flights to JFK from departing. “

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Departures to New York were halted amid the disruption. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple theft

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Significant disturbance

The airport tweeted the above information at 6:51 p.m. local time. Just over an hour later, at 8:02 p.m., he confirmed via Twitter that the controllers returned to their main workstation. However, the disruption was not over at this point, with the airport confirming that:

JFK controllers return to the main control tower following a previous water leak. The airport remains open, but due to this, coupled with regional weather conditions, customers may experience residual delays. “

In total, Fox reported that at least 300 flights were affected by the disruption. Regarding the extent of these delays, the US media said that arrivals arrived on average 30 minutes late. Needless to say, as JFK was the sixth largest airport in the United States in terms of passenger traffic before COVID, the disruption was indeed very significant.

New York JFK from the sky
Operations finally resumed with residual delays. Photo: KenzieAbraham via Wikimedia Commons

A busy weekend

Of course, there is never a perfect time for such a major disruption. However, it was perhaps one of the worst weekends that has ever happened, given that passenger numbers will have been higher before the July 4 holiday for independence from the United States.

Indeed, the port authorities of New York and New Jersey went so far as to publish a travel advisory on June 30, to help passengers and workers prepare for the increase in numbers. In this declaration, which he published on Wednesday, he explained that:

The agency predicts that more than 1.1 million passengers will pass through JFK, Newark, LaGuardia and New York Stewart International Airports from July 1 to 5. This estimate reflects the slow but steady growth in the return of air travel to the United States, although this expected volume represents a decrease of more than 41% from the same holiday weekend in July 2019.. “

What do you think of this incident? Have your yesterday’s travel plans been impacted as a result? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.


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