Flights resume at NY airports following blizzard

Major airports have reopened after a blizzard led to cancellation of flights in the Northeast US.

Last Updated: Dec 28, 2010, 12:15 PM IST

New York: Planes have begun landing again Tuesday at two of the nation`s busiest airports after a blizzard that clobbered the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow grounded flights in the New York metropolitan area, stranding thousands of travelers trying to get home after the holidays.

A Royal Jordanian flight was the first to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport, shortly before 7 p.m., said Steve Coleman, of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports.

An Air Canada flight from Toronto landed at LaGuardia Airport at about 7:40 p.m. Just before the plane touched down, the captain came over the loudspeaker and informed passengers that it was the first flight to land at LaGuardia since the blizzard hit.

"Everyone was clapping toward the end," said Patrick Wacker, 37, who had been stranded in Toronto for a day while trying to get back to New York after visiting his parents in Frankfurt, Germany.

Wacker and other deplaning passengers said there was some turbulence on landing and the plane had to be towed to the gate because it couldn`t get through the snow on the runway.

Flights were expected to begin arriving at Newark Liberty International Airport later in the evening.

The storm walloped the Northeast on Sunday, stymieing most means of transportation. Flights were grounded. Buses sputtered to a halt in snow drifts. Trains stopped in their tracks. Taxi drivers abandoned their cabs in the middle of New York`s snow-clogged streets. Even the New York City subway system — usually dependable during a snowstorm — broke down in spots, trapping riders for hours.

Snowfall totals included a foot in Tidewater, Va., and Philadelphia, 29 inches in parts of northern New Jersey, 2 feet north of New York City, and more than 18 inches in Boston.
Cold, hungry and tired passengers spent the night in airports, train stations and bus depots. Some were given cots and blankets. Others used their luggage as pillows, curled into chairs, or made beds by spreading towels on the floor or overturning the plastic bins used for sending items through airport security.

Some airline passengers could be stuck for days. Many planes are booked solid because of the busy holiday season, and airlines are operating fewer flights because of the economic downturn.

PTI