30-Dec-2010 9:00 AM

JFK tarmac delays hit international travellers

Air Jamaica announced (28-Dec-2010) plans to hold all services into New York John F Kennedy International Airport until issues with ground handling logistics, due to a heavy snow storm, have been resolved. Passengers who have been affected by these schedule changes will be rebooked on later services as available. There will be no fees for date or flight changes for this affected period. [more - Air Jamaica]

Cathay Pacific also apologised to the thousands of passengers stranded at John F Kennedy International Airport for long delays caused by the snowstorms. A total of five Cathay Pacific services had to wait on the tarmac because gates were not available for passengers to disembark. The length of waiting time on the tarmac ranged from four hours up to 11 hours for the five affected services. These passengers have now disembarked as the weather situation and operation conditions at the airport have improved. [more - Cathay]

Cathay:We are particularly sorry for the great inconvenience that more than 1100 passengers have suffered throughout their long wait inside our aircraft on the tarmac. We are actively reviewing everything that led to this unfortunate situation so that we can work to prevent a recurrence in the future. Our intentions to get our passengers to their destinations as quickly as possible were good, but we could not overcome the challenging conditions at JFK due to the snowstorm and as a result did not live up to our service standards, for which we sincerely apologise.” Cathay Pacific spokesperson. Source: Company statement.

Meanwhile, FlyersRights.org has demanded (29-Dec-2010) that the US Department of Transportation instigate a new rule that includes protections for international airline passengers after a number of services operated by international carriers left passengers on aircraft at JFK Airport for upwards of 13 hours. [more - FlyersRights.org]

FlyersRights.org: "FlyersRights.org demands that DoT investigate this event and promulgate a rule that includes protections for international airline passengers. Clearly, passenger safety, customs requirements, and airport security considerations must be a part of that new rule. FRO also looks forward to final passage of the FAA Modernisation act in Congress, which contains many further provisions for airline passengers that will make their travel by air safer, healthier and more tolerable. We intend to be the voice for all air travelers indefinitely!" Kate Hanni, CEO of FlyersRights.org. Source: Company statement.

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