UPDATE: Power is back on for most of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport after more than 10 hours of cancelled flights.
The world’s busiest airport has suffered a power outage for more than seven hours causing mayhem for travelers on Sunday.
The power outage grounded flights at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport early Sunday afternoon affecting thousands of travelers.
A fire has been blamed for the outage.
Atlanta Airport officials say a fire caused extensive damage in an underground electrical facility and affected substations serving the airport.
“Assessment and repair efforts are well underway at this time and the company [Georgia Power] expect to have power restored at the airport by midnight,” said a statement put out by the airport.
"I can't believe anything like this would happen"
Travelers stranded at the busiest airport in the world. @NefertitiWSB and @MattWSB are at @ATLairport. Team 2 Coverage on the #poweroutage begins NEXT on Channel 2 Action News. https://t.co/lLjqMm04OK pic.twitter.com/gBcKuXgzRe
— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) December 17, 2017
“The fire was safely extinguished by fire crews before Georgia Power could enter the area to assess damage and begin repairs,” it said.
“The cause of the incident is not yet known.”
The power outage began early afternoon and more than 350 departure flights have so far been cancelled.
“The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a ground stop for flights headed to ATL at this time, and many flights inbound to Atlanta are being diverted,” said any earlier statement by the airport. “A ground stop means the flights headed to Atlanta are held on the ground at the departure airport.”
Thousands of passengers were stranded and flights were grounded or delayed as a power outage crippled Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport — the world's busiest airport. https://t.co/7K3Xug4KRM pic.twitter.com/lLqRxpnpfH
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 17, 2017
Social media posts show large number of passengers inside the airport waiting it out in the dark.
Understandably people have been frustrated.
“The airport is crazy right now. Lots of frustrated travelers. Still dark. Cell service barely working for the last three hours,” said one woman via tweet.
Another tweeted: “Concourse C1 has just got a lot more packed due to smoke down the hall. Something about an escalator? Things are getting uncomfortable now. … Can I go home now please?”
— Faith Abubéy 🗣 (@ReporterFaith) December 17, 2017
Other posts on social media say that people are stuck inside aircraft.
“We’ve been sitting stuck in this plane since 12:40 … coming up on 4 hours. All the food and alcohol is gone. And zero communication. We’re parked near I-75 on the east side of the airport. Pilot said it would be hours before we get a gate and can deplane,” said one person via tweet.
Another said: “Delta Airlines, how about you turn on free wi-fi and hand out real food for us stuck here in the plane on the tarmac for 5 hours now? Please?”
Olympian Lolo Jones is among those stranded. She put out a tweet for pizza.
Hi yes I would like to order a pizza the delivery address is the Atlanta airport runway. Landed hours ago from Germany can’t get off plane bc customs and outage but could customs clear a pizza to come on board?
— Lolo Jones (@lolojones) December 17, 2017
Airport backup generators have allowed minimal operations. Departure flights all had to be cancelled.
One social media user saw the funny side of it: “Welp, my flight is canceled. Just glad I’m not stuck on a plane. If this were a Hallmark movie I’d rent a car with a handsome stranger. Where’s he at??”
Airport spokesperson Reese McCranie told The Associated Press that some incoming flights are being diverted to other airports in the region.
Due to the power outage that started nearly five hours ago, there are only two airborne aircraft in the entire world that departed out of @ATLairport.
There would normally be hundreds. pic.twitter.com/cqmA5woU13
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) December 17, 2017
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