Baggage glitch delays American Airlines JFK flights

CHICAGO Wed Jul 30, 2008 4:38pm EDT

1 of 4. Customers wait in line after a computer glitch crippled the baggage handling system at the American Airlines' Terminal 8 at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport July 30, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

CHICAGO (Reuters) - AMR Corp's American Airlines said on Wednesday about 25 flights have been delayed from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport after the software that controls the baggage sorting conveyor belt malfunctioned.

Workers were sorting bags by hand, but many items were not being put on flights before departure, AMR said in a statement. Delays range from an hour to an hour and a half.

"So, we are announcing the issue to passengers and allowing them to choose whether they go on the flight or not," AMR said. "Once we have the issue resolved, we'll get the bags that are left behind on their way to the customer's destination and delivered to them."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the region's airports, declined comment, saying baggage handling is the responsibility of the airlines.

U.S. airlines are under increasing pressure to limit delays and cancellations as they fly fuller aircraft to offset soaring fuel costs.

More than a quarter of flights operated by major U.S. airlines and their affiliates were delayed last year, with on- time performance suffering most at New York-area airports. The New York region handles about a third of all domestic air traffic.

AMR shares were down 2.43 percent at $9.25 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Kyle Peterson and Bill Rigby; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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