Entries in JFK Airport (20)


JFK Airport Officials Protect Incoming Turtles With Barrier

iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- In addition to dealing with more than 47 million passengers every year, John F. Kennedy International Airport officials have been dealing an unlikely infestation: diamondback terrapins.

The airport is located alongside Jamaica Bay and has been plagued in recent years by hundreds of turtles that have started to cross over runways as they attempt to find a nesting ground.

The turtles have become a slow-moving nuisance to the airport, causing runway closures and delays for passengers.

But in an effort to keep the planes running on time and the turtles safe, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials are installing piping along runways to keep the turtles out, according to the New York Post.

“We’re trying to find a balance between nature and aviation,” Port Authority spokesman Ron Marsico told the New York Post. “We don’t want to see the turtles get hurt, and this should keep the airport running smoothly.”

The airport will install 4,000 feet of 8-inch plastic piping along the runway closest to the bay. The barrier will apparently come just in time: The Port Authority’s Twitter account recently posted a few photos of 200 turtles that were cleared from the area.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Two Planes Clip Each Other on JFK Runway

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images(NEW YORK) – An Air India plane that had just landed was taxiing down the runway when it bumped a JetBlue plane that was waiting on the tarmac Saturday morning, Federal Aviation Administration officials report.

According to the FAA, the wingtip of the Air India plane clipped the tail of the JetBlue plane at around 6:15 Saturday morning. No passengers or crew on either plane were hurt.

The JetBlue flight was bound for West Palm Beach, Florida, though the visible damage the wing had done to the plane’s rudder necessitated getting a different plane. Passengers boarded a new plane, which left three hours later.

Neither plane was being directed by air traffic controllers at the time of the collision.

FAA investigators are looking into the incident further.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


JFK Security Workers OK Strike as Holiday Travelers Pay More to Fly

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- More than 300 security guards at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport are threatening to go on strike just as an estimated 42 million people will be flying on airplanes for the holidays.

One group of workers on Thursday approved a vote to strike on Dec. 20 if their company, Air Serve, does not agree to their demands.  A second group of workers employed by Global Elite Group will hold a similar vote on Friday.

These employees at the nation's sixth-largest airport are non-union workers hired by outside, private contractors.  The workers want better training, functional radios and proper uniforms for cold and rainy weather.

It's unclear what impact a strike would have on JFK at the height of the holiday travel season as an estimated 42 million passengers will fly nationwide between Monday, Dec. 17 and Jan. 6.

Airline tickets are in high demand right now, which means more expensive ticket prices, according to a report released Thursday by Airlines for America.  Planes are flying at 85 to 90 percent capacity for the 21-day holiday travel period.

The time for holiday airfare bargains is over.  Non-stop ticket prices for Christmas week are nearly double what they were at the beginning of the month, and rising by the day.

"The time to book was weeks ago, but if you haven't booked yet you have to pull the trigger right now," ABC News' travel and lifestyle editor Genevieve Shaw Brown said.  "Prices are going up not every day, but every single hour you wait."

The average domestic air fare is now $414, according to Travelocity, 9 percent more expensive than last year's holiday season.  The most expensive days to fly -- up to $500 or more a ticket -- are Dec. 21 and 22, and on the return, Dec. 30 and 31, and New Years Day.

The cheaper days to fly?  Christmas Day, and the three days after.  Flying on those days can save as much as $330.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Another TSA Agent Accused of iPad Theft

Port Authority Police Department(NEW YORK) -- A TSA agent was arrested this week and charged with stealing from passengers traveling through New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, adding to the long list of TSA officers accused of theft of passenger belongings.

TSA baggage screener Sean Henry, 32, was arrested after a sting operation conducted jointly by the TSA and the Port Authority Police Department caught Henry leaving the airport with two iPads that had been planted as part of the sting, as well as numerous other electronic devices he had allegedly stolen from passengers. Just as in a recent ABC News investigation of thefts by TSA agents, the sting used the iPads' own tracking capabilities to follow the stolen tablets' movements.

Transportation Security Administration spokesman David Castelveter told ABC News that the TSA has "taken the steps to begin processing [Henry] for termination."

"TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," said Castelveter in a statement.

In September, an ABC News investigation revealed that 381 TSA officers had been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012, including 11 up to that point this year.

As part of the investigation, ABC News purposefully left behind an iPad at an airport security checkpoint in Orlando, Fla., and, using the iPad's GPS tracking app, recovered it at the home of a TSA agent who was later fired for the alleged theft.

The ABC News investigation prompted Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to urge the TSA to conduct random sting operations on its employees "to test whether TSA agents are acting in a trustworthy manner to protect passenger property."

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told ABC News that authorities have recently stepped up their sting investigations, in part in response to these reports, and in part because they've received more claims from passengers about lost and possibly stolen items.

"These sting operations have been growing out there to try to curb this level of luggage theft, especially as the Christmas holidays are approaching," Coleman said.

In the sting that resulted in Henry's arrest, officers used GPS technology in the planted iPads to follow the tablets as they left JFK on the airport's AirTrain system. Officers allegedly found Henry on the train with the devices, according to Coleman.

After arresting Henry, Coleman said, investigators found more devices in his backpack that they have identified as stolen property, including a MacBook Pro and a pair of new Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones still in the box. They also found another set of Beats Headphones, an Apple iPad Mini, an Apple iPod and an iPhone, which were taken for further investigation.

A subsequent search of his house also turned up a black Apple Macbook that was identified as stolen property, Coleman said.

Henry was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance on Wednesday night and is due back in court in January. He has not yet entered a plea. According to Coleman, police are attempting to locate owners of the items they found, and more charges will be added when owners are located.

Coleman called the use of GPS tracking in its sting operations a "relatively new" tactic. The TSA declined to talk specifically about covert operations but did say that the agency has been conducting tests and cooperating with the Port Authority Police after the latest arrest.

Figures provided to ABC News by the TSA in October in response to a Freedom of Information Act request showed that JFK Airport ranked second in the nation in the number of TSA agents fired for theft, with a total of 27 fired from 2002 through December 2011.

"There's been an ongoing problem with luggage theft out of the airport, especially terminal 4, which is the international building," Coleman said.

The TSA disputes that theft is a widespread problem, saying the number of officers fired "represents less than one-half of one percent of officers that have been employed" by TSA.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jet Skier Who Exposed JFK Airport's Security Flaw Tried to Get Caught

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The man who unwittingly breached John F. Kennedy Airport's state-of-the art security system after his jet ski failed in New York's Jamaica Bay was trying to get caught as a way to be rescued.

"I didn't mean to do this, but I exposed something really important, and that's a flaw in security," Daniel Casillo told ABC News Tuesday.

Casillo, 31, swam up and entered the airport grounds on Aug. 10 after his jet ski broke down outside the airport in Jamaica Bay.  Casillo bypassed the airport's multimillion-dollar security system with little effort.  He was arrested by stunned security officials at America's sixth-largest airport.

Casillo's night started aboard his newly repaired, bright-yellow personal watercraft in Jamaica Bay.  It broke down just outside of the airport's approach.

"I looked around.  No lights, no boats, nothing.  No noise.  Just pitch black," Casillo said.

With no idea what to do, Casillo spotted the lighted control tower in the distance.  He left the water scooter and embarked on a three-mile swim to reach land.  Still wearing his life jacket, Casillo then hiked through a muddy marsh when he reached a chain-link, barbed-wire fence.

"I just made the decision I'm going to have to get found.  I'm going to take it upon myself to get over this fence to get seen.  Something has to happen," Casillo said.

Cold and disoriented, Casillo climbed the 8-foot fence, but nothing happened.  Despite climbing the fence and violating the law, Casillo remained undetected and headed toward the control tower.

"That was the only thing lit up that I could go to," Casillo said.

Casillo walked across two runways past security, cameras and motion detectors that the airport recently paid millions of dollars to install.

"I figured I was going to be on cameras," he said.  "That somebody is going to pick me up and maybe a helicopter is going to come or a police car."

Still unnoticed and wearing his life jacket, Casillo entered Delta's Terminal 3 dripping wet when he finally walked up to a cargo worker.

Casillo was arrested and charged with felony trespass for his misadventure.  He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

New York Port Authority officials told ABC News at the time of the security breach that they "took immediate action to increase its police presence with round-the-clock patrols of the facility's perimeter and increased patrols by boat of the surrounding waterway."

"We have called for an expedited review of the incident and a complete investigation to determine how Raytheon's perimeter intrusion detection system-which exceeds federal requirements-could be improved.  Our goal is to keep the region's airports safe and secure at all times," the Port Authority said in a statement.

Casillo says he could've walked on to any airplane of his choosing at any time during that night.

"The whole intention the whole time was to make myself seen," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two Planes Held at JFK Airport for Threat Investigation

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Officials cleared two flights held for a time at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after a threat involving the aircrafts was phoned in Monday.

A caller told authorities that the flights, a Fin Air flight from Helsinki and an American Airlines flight from San Francisco, had "two individuals" described as terrorists "secreted in the wheel wells." This claim led law enforcement officials to search each plane, a Port Authority official told ABC News.

Investigators viewed the threat as one with low credibility, but the planes taxied to a secure area, where the crews of each plane were interviewed.

No explosives or terrorists were found.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jet Skier Breaks Through NY Airport's $100 Million Security System

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A man whose jet ski failed him in New York's Jamaica Bay swam to John F. Kennedy airport, where he was easily able to penetrate the airport $100 million, state-of-the art security system.

Daniel Casillo, 31, was able to swim up to and enter the airport grounds on Friday night, past an intricate system of motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras designed to safeguard against terrorists, authorities said.

"I think he should be given dinner and a bottle of champagne for showing us our faults," said Nicholas Casale, a New York Police Department veteran and former Metropolitan Transportation Authority deputy security director for counterterrorism.

Casillo's night began innocently enough, as he and some friends were racing on jet skis in Jamaica Bay near JFK airport when his watercraft stalled.  After calling for and receiving no help, he managed to swim towards the only thing he could see, the runway lights at JFK.

Once he made it to land, Casillo climbed an eight-foot barbed-wire perimeter fence and walked undetected through the airport's Perimeter Intrusion Detection System and across two runways into Delta's terminal 3.  Unnoticed until then, Casillo walked into the airport dripping wet and wearing his bright yellow life jacket.

When he was eventually spotted by a Delta employee, police arrested Casillo and charged him with criminal trespassing.

"It's outrageous," Casale said.  "Why in 2012 do we not have a security system throughout our airports?"

This is not the first time an airport's security systems failed.

In March, a black jeep sped down a runway at Philadelphia International Airport.  That incident came on the heels of another in California, when a BMW slammed through an airport fence when the driver reportedly lost control.

Last year at JFK, there was a huge uproar over that same perimeter fence, when it was knocked out by weather and remained down for days.

New York Port Authority officials told ABC News this time around they "took immediate action to increase its police presence with round the clock patrols of the facility's perimeter and increased patrols by boat of the surrounding waterway."

"We have called for an expedited review of the incident and a complete investigation to determine how Raytheon's perimeter intrusion detection system -- which exceeds federal requirements -- could be improved.  Our goal is to keep the region's airports safe and secure at all times," the Port Authority said in a statement.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bird Strike: Delta Flight Makes Emergency Landing

ABC News/WABC-TV(NEW YORK) -- Delta Flight 1063 was forced to make an emergency landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after its right engine reportedly experienced a bird strike shortly after takeoff Thursday afternoon.

The flight, originally bound for Los Angeles, returned safely to JFK.

“On takeoff, the airplane had a likely bird strike,” said a Delta statement. “As a precaution, the captain elected to return to JFK. The flight landed without incident, and we’re working on reaccomodating the passengers.”

CNN’s Ali Velshi, who was on the flight, tweeted that following the bird strike the cabin filled with smoke. Velshi also commended the captain and crew for “a quick turnaround & landing.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Two More Grandmas Say They Were Strip-Searched at JFK Airport

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two more elderly women with medical conditions have come forward claiming they were strip-searched by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 29, bringing to three the number of senior passengers who allege they were forced to remove their clothes at the New York airport last Tuesday.

Ruth Sherman, 88, told ABC News she was about to board a 3:30 p.m. Jet Blue flight to Florida after visiting her family for Thanksgiving when two female TSA officers ordered her into a private room.  The great-grandmother of seven has worn a colostomy bag since undergoing cancer surgery two years ago.  She claims the agents noticed the bulge from the bag and that prompted the additional screening.

According to Sherman, the TSA agents told her to enter the screening room and demanded to know what the bulge was.  Sherman said she was embarrassed and annoyed that even after she explained what it was they asked her to drop her jogging pants and show them.

Linda Kallish, a 66-year-old diabetic, claims she too was strip-searched at JFK on Nov. 29.  According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kallish, who was bound for Ft. Lauderdale via Jet Blue on a 1 p.m. flight, had a glucose monitor that checks her blood sugar every five minutes strapped to one leg and an insulin pump strapped to the other.  A female TSA officer allegedly asked her into a private room after setting off the metal detector.  Kallish says she was ordered to remove her pants in order to demonstrate both devices.

The women's claims come just days after Lenore Zimmerman alleged she was strip searched while trying to catch the 1 p.m. Jet Blue flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

Zimmerman said security whisked her away without explanation after she asked to forgo the full-body scan, fearing it might interfere with the heart defibrillator she was wearing.  She told ABC News that she was asked to pull down her slacks and underwear with no explanation or apology.  She missed her 1 p.m. flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

TSA did not immediately respond to ABC News requests for comments about the incidents.  A TSA blog said that "TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols," and also said that Zimmerman was not strip searched.  The TSA declined to answer a question from the Orlando Sentinel about whether there were instances when passengers were required to remove clothing.

Law enforcement officials confirmed to ABC News that the women were strip-searched by TSA agents.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Strip-Searched Grandma Says TSA Removed Her Underwear

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An 84-year-old New York grandmother says she was “mortified” after being strip-searched by TSA agents at John F. Kennedy International Airport last week.

Lenore Zimmerman of Long Island said she was on her way to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when security whisked her away to a private room without explanation after she asked to forgo the full-body scan, fearing it might interfere with her defibrillator.

“They took me into a private room and pulled down my slacks and pulled down my underwear” without explanation or apology, Zimmerman told ABC News.

“I said, you know, I’ve been coming down for Florida for 10 years and I’ve always been patted down but I’ve never been strip-searched, why I am being strip-searched now? … They had no answer,” Zimmerman said.

When she tried to lift a lightweight walker off her lap, the metal bars banged against her leg, cutting her.

“I’m on a blood thinner and I bled like a pig so they called an ambulance and I said, ‘please don’t take me to the hospital, just bandage me up,’” she said.

The TSA called a medic, but the process took so long that Zimmerman missed her 1 p.m. flight and had to wait more than two hours to catch the next one, she said.

But the TSA said no strip search was conducted and proper procedures were followed.

“While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols and one was not conducted in this case,” the TSA said in a statement about the incident.

A review of closed circuit TV found that Zimmerman arrived at the ticket counter at 12:19 p.m. for her flight, which was scheduled for a 1 p.m. departure, but that actually left early 12:50 p.m.

The video showed her entering the checkpoint line in a wheelchair with her walker in her hand, according to the TSA. When she got to the screening equipment, she had a conversation with the TSA officer, and after a conversation she appeared to opt out of the advanced image technology screening equipment in favor of a pat-down, the TSA said.

When Zimmerman and two female officers left the private screening room, it appeared from the video that nothing unusual had happened, according to the TSA. The wheelchair attendant assisted her in leaving the checkpoint area for the gate.

But Zimmerman wants an apology.

“It’s humiliating, and it was ridiculous. I mean, I’m telling you I weigh 103 pounds, I was in a walker, I’m going to be 85 in February, only me this could happen to,” Zimmerman said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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