Oct 31 JetBlue Airways , stung by a
another long ground delay due to snowy weekend weather, said on
Monday it would review decision making for handling diverted
flights while U.S. aviation regulators launched a review of all
air traffic operations in the storm-struck Northeast.
"Everything's on the table," JetBlue spokeswoman Jenny
Dervin said. "We'll evaluate the entire process and decision
making tree so to not put our customers in this position
JetBlue diverted six planes to Hartford's Bradley airport
on Saturday as the freak October storm that dumped up to 30
inches of snow in some parts of New England and knocked out
power to more than 2 million homes targeted the region.
Five JetBlue flights experienced delays of three hours or
more on the tarmac in Hartford, Dervin said. One of them,
Flight 504 from Ft. Lauderdale to Newark, was among the first
to land to refuel and wait for clearance to head for New
Reports said it was stranded on the tarmac for more than
seven hours before passengers could exit the aircraft. Dervin
said refueling glitches prompted by storm-related airport power
outages were among the problems.
Bradley Airport spokesman John Wallace could not confirm
any details about specific airlines or airport operations on
Saturday beyond saying in a statement the facility handled 23
diversions and tried to accommodate between 1,000 and 1,500
stranded passengers with cots, blankets, food and water.
"Our resources were stretched to the limit," Wallace said.
Neither JetBlue nor Transportation Department officials
looking into the matter would confirm the seven-hour timeframe
reported by passengers.
A delay longer than three hours can result in a government
fine, a rule prompted in part by a notorious incident involving
a JetBlue flight stranded at New York's JFK airport during an
ice storm on Valentine's Day, 2007.
Flight 504, directed to a remote area of the airport on
Saturday, could not access the terminal due to diverted planes
that subsequently arrived and crowded the gate areas, Dervin
"It got boxed in," Dervin said.
She said JetBlue flights were diverted because of
navigation problems with airport navigation equipment in New
York and New Jersey.
The Federal Aviation Administration, responsible for air
traffic control, said in a statement it was looking into
Northeast airline operations, diversions, procedures and
airport equipment performance during the storm.
JetBlue said it could not say whether the decision to send
certain flights to Hartford with the brunt of the storm heading
for the region was incorrect.
Congestion, not weather, Dervin said, was the reason for
problems at the airport where JetBlue planes are sometimes sent
to refuel or wait, if there are delays in New York.
Other JetBlue flights were diverted to Atlantic City and
Richmond, areas hit by the storm but not debilitated by it,