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Blackout-stricken airports restore service

Travelers were stranded in the Cleveland airport.
Travelers were stranded in the Cleveland airport.

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- All three New York-area airports were fully operational by 7 p.m. Thursday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said, but the operations were scarcely back to normal.

"Expect extended flight delays and long wait times at the airports," a United Airlines spokesman told CNN.

In addition to the New York-area airports, the power outage that hit the Northeast United States and parts of Canada shut down airports in Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Toronto and Ottawa, among others.

Although the air traffic control centers and many airports had backup power for some areas, operations were shut down because the outage crippled security screening facilities, bag handling, reservations and other airline operations, officials said.

Incoming flights already in the air when the power went out were allowed to land at the affected airports, said Transportation Security Administration spokesman Nico Melendez. Some flights took off, but only those with passengers already at the gate, he added.

John F. Kennedy International Airport was one of the first to resume some operations, with Terminals 1 through 6 reopened within two hours, the Transportation Security Administration said.

CNN's Patty Davis and Beth Lewandowski contributed to this report.

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