Aviation News

January 16, 2010

American Airlines Terminal 8 at JFK Shut Down by Security Breach

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This man entered JFK Terminal 8 through an employees-only door

This man entered JFK Terminal 8 through an employees-only door. (photo via Fox 5 NY)

American Airlines says operations are returning to normal as of 6:09pm eastern time following the evacuation of their JFK Airport terminal Saturday afternoon.

At approximately 3:30pm, an unidentified man managed to enter Terminal 8 through an employee entrance, which apparently was not guarded and leads to an area beyond TSA screening checkpoints who had arrived from Orlando accidentally exited a First Class lounge area via an employees-only door.

Authorities made the decision to evacuate the entire terminal and rescreen all passengers and employees. All flights out of the terminal were halted, and flights which had already boarded were deplaned so passengers and baggage could be screened again. Arriving flights were forced to sit on the tarmac and wait.

It is not clear if the suspect was ever located.

The incident completes a trilogy of security breaches at New York City airports in recent months. Two weeks ago, a man at Newark’s Terminal C ran through an exit, prompting the shutdown and full evacuation of that terminal. In August, a mental patient carrying a fake bomb at LaGuardia Airport created a similar scare.

UPDATE: The breach was actually committed not by someone entering the terminal, but by a man who had arrived from Orlando and attempted to exit the Admirals Club via an employees-only door.