We’re learning more about the fire and resulting challenges that Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport faced Sunday after the world’s busiest airport lost power. Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reed said stranded travelers were shuttled to the Georgia International Convention Center where they were provided with food and shelter. Crews are working overnight to restore electrical power to the sprawling 6,800,000-square foot airport. Flights are not expected to resume until 8AM Monday.
According to Georgia Power, the fire affected not only the main system, but a switch that accesses the back-up was damaged during the fire as well. With no back-up, the system totally went down.
Mayor Reed said, “because of the intensity of the fire, the switch which accesses the redundant system was damaged. Airport has a very redundant, very robust system.” The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Reed says he has no reason to suspect foul play.
Air traffic controllers have been called back to their posts and are ready to resume work as soon as they are given clearance and flights resume.
Reports of a hellacious day at ATL are starting to stream in…
We’re now also receiving photos from Avgeeks showing the scene after the power went out (MEDIA OUTLETS: contact us here for photo releases). According to some people who shared their story, the terminals were calm but the tension was palatable. With all escalators and elevators out, the elderly and handicapped were stranded.
According to one report, there was smoke reported in Terminal C. Emergency personnel shutdown the terminal. The fire department sequestered the passengers at the South end for 2.5 hours. With the power out, cell service was also limited. And passengers everywhere were unable to charge any of their devices.
Only emergency, generator powered lights kept the terminal from going completely dark.
Aircraft were unable to depart gates as all jet bridges require electricity to operate.
Delta Airlines is likely to cancel or delay more flights Monday. Passengers are strongly encouraged to confirm flights and connections through ATL.