Hopkins Airport director speaks out on nuisance to travelers revealed by I-Team

CLEVELAND -- The man in charge of Hopkins Airport now predicts repairs will be finished Monday to fix a main escalator out of service for months causing a big inconvenience to travelers.

Thursday, the I-Team revealed that escalator has been out of service since August. And when we approached the airport director to find out if it would be fixed for the holiday travel season, he refused to answer questions. Robert Kennedy told us he needed the OK from city hall.

Twenty-four hours later, Kennedy met with the I-Team. He said crews are scrambling to complete repairs by the beginning of the week. Kennedy added, "It had to be taken apart, sent back, refurbished, and redone.”

Without that escalator, travelers have had to go out of their way to check in to flights. Some had turned to the I-Team wondering what the problem was and how long it would take to fix it.

Kennedy said, "We're sorry that we had to inconvenience anybody.”

The main escalator and two others went down after flooding underneath the lower level of the airport. Two other escalators were recently repaired, and now the main project is in the final stages. As of Friday, the last replacement pieces were being shipped to the airport.

We asked, why is this is all coming down to the last moment before the holiday travel rush? Kennedy said, "That's not a question for me; that’s a question for the manufacturing and refurbishing people.” He says the airport has said many times it needed to get the work done before Thanksgiving.

Cost of the project will likely top $650,000. A spokesperson says that will be covered by fees paid by the airlines to the airport and insurance money.

The airport also plans now to upgrade other escalators since all of the equipment is very old.

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