A Sunday afternoon power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, which serves an estimated 275,000 travelers daily, has wreaked havoc on flight plans for thousands of passengers traveling in and out of the Georgia capital.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the outage occurred a 1:15 PM, ultimately prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a “ground stop” as Georgia Power attempts to remedy the situation .
“The #FAA has put in a ground stop for flights headed to @ATLairport due to a power outage affecting the airport terminals,” explained the FAA on Twitter. “The FAA Tower can operate normally, however, departures are delayed because airport equipment in the terminals is not working. A ground stop means that flights headed to Atlanta are held on the ground at their departure airport.”
Hartsfield-Jackson serves as a hub for Delta and is considered to be the world’s busiest airport so delayed flights in Atlanta will impact the entire U.S. during this holiday travel season. WXIA reports that a Southwest spokesperson has indicated “all but a handful of international flights” are being cancelled in Atlanta by the airline.
At present, it’s unclear what caused the outage and there is no immediate timetable for when service will proceed as normal.
UPDATE #1 – 5:55pm EST: CNN reports that Southwest Airlines has now cancelled all arrivals and departures that were scheduled to occur on Sunday, and “customers are being offered re-bookings without fare differences.” Delta has not yet taken those steps but says updates will be forthcoming:
“Delta is aware of a power outage at the Atlanta Airport affecting airport concourses and terminal buildings,” spokesman Michael Thomas told CNN. “Flight disruptions are expected as a result and Delta customers are encouraged check the status of their flight via the Fly Delta Mobile App or Delta.com. More updates to follow.”
UPDATE #2 – 9:00pm EST: American and United airlines followed Southwest’s example and cancelled the remainder of arrivals and departures from Atlanta for the rest of the day. Delta cancelled 900 flights while diverting the rest to other airports. Meanwhile Georgia Power hopes to restore the airport’s power by midnight. There’s no definitive cause yet for the outage, but Georgia Power believes it may be due to an underground fire.