Fire watch / Tornado watch
Dry, windy and mild ahead of possible storms

Power outage strands thousands at Atlanta airport

OKLAHOMA CITY – While a lot of people are trying to get home for the holidays, thousands of travelers experienced some issues at airports across the country.

On Sunday, a power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta left thousands of passengers stranded as almost 1,200 flights were canceled or delayed.

The outage, which affected all airport operations, started with a fire in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said.

The electrical fire’s intensity damaged two substations serving the airport, including the airport’s “redundant system” that should have provided backup power, Reed said.

The lights flickered on shortly before midnight, after an exhausting day for travelers. Thousands were stranded in dark terminals and on planes sitting on the tarmac. The ground stop in Atlanta disrupted air travel across the United States.

The effects rippled into Monday, as Delta reported almost 400 flights canceled amid the hangover from the outage. Delta tweeted that it expects flight schedules “to return to normal by Monday afternoon.”

 

As Atlanta is the heart of the US air transport system, it also caused problems at other airports, said Desmond Ross, principal of DRA Professional Aviation Services.

“We’re talking possibly millions of people disrupted over the next few days and it is certainly not going to be fixed in one day,” Ross said.

In addition to the issues in Atlanta, passengers in Oklahoma City also had to contend with Mother Nature.

Heavy fog caused several flights to be canceled or delayed at Will Rogers World Airport on Monday morning.