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Power outage cripples world’s biggest airport

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Hartsfield-Jackson International

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson restores power but 1,000 flights cancelled

Power is now fully restored at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport, 11 hours after a power outage paralysed traffic.

An exhausting day for travellers yesterday left thousands of people stranded for hours in cold, dark terminals and on planes sitting on the tarmac. The outage led to the cancellation of exactly 1,173 flights to and from the airport, which is the heart of the US air transport network.

The incident began with a fire at a Georgia Power electrical facility, which damaged two substations serving the airport – including a system that should have provided backup power.

“We certainly understand that the outage has caused frustration and anger and we are doing everything we can to get folks back home right away,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said at a press conference last night.

Delays into Monday
Delays and cancellations are continuing into Monday. Delta, for example, has axed 300 flights for Monday, most of which are inbound. But it tweeted that it expects schedules “to return to normal by Monday afternoon”.

The cause of the fire at Georgia Power’s underground tunnels, which fire crews found difficult to access, remains unknown.

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