I-Team goes one-on-one with head of Hopkins Airport about big inconvenience for passengers

CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I-Team went to Hopkins Airport to investigate a big inconvenience for passengers heading to flights with the holiday travel season beginning, but the airport director refused to answer questions.

We found a main escalator has been out of service since August. So we wondered why it’s been down so long, and will it be fixed by Thanksgiving?

The I-Team caught up with Airport Director Robert Kennedy as a special event was winding down honoring RTA service to the airport.

But as we told Kennedy why we wanted to talk to him, he answered, “Ed, did you realize this is an RTA event? So, I’m not prepared to talk about escalators today."

When we asked why, as the airport director, he couldn’t talk about escalators, Kennedy said, "I can. I'm very good, but I choose not to at this point."

Thursday morning, we saw crews working on the escalator, and travelers going out of their way to catch flights.

The escalator serves people who come into the airport from parking areas and from RTA trains. It should carry people up to the ticketing area.

Kennedy, though, suggested we call city hall to set up an interview. We countered with asking why we would have to do that since he’s a public official, and he was there at a public event.

The main escalator has been out of service since August. So why are crews just working on it now, in effect, hours before many of you will start your holiday travel? A spokesperson at Hopkins says the airport had to wait for an insurance claim, and big sections had to be shipped out to be rebuilt.

The spokesperson says mechanical trouble began after some kind of flood underneath the lower level.

Other sections of escalator just got repaired in recent days.

The spokesperson predicted the main escalator also would be fixed by Thanksgiving. Though when we asked one member of the repair crew about the timetable, he answered, “I have no clue.”

We asked Kennedy why he was avoiding the question. He responded by referring again to his request that we set something up through city hall. He said, "From my standpoint, you refuse to follow a path forward to get this done. You only, you only want it done your way."

However, in the past, when FOX 8 has requested interviews with the airport director through the city, he’s never been made available.

In fact, after our encounter this time, we emailed the mayor’s office outlining what had happened and why we wanted to speak to the director. We never received any response.