Power restored at Atlanta airport, outage impacted flights at BWI

Chick-fil-A opened on Sunday Dec. 18. 2017 to provide food for travelers stranded at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport

In addition to all air traffic coming to a halt in Atlanta, the Federal Aviation Administration enacted a ground stop for all flights headed to Atlanta, meaning that they will not be allowed to take off until the stop is lifted.

Delta canceled about 1,000 flights Sunday and 400 more on Monday, in many cases because the pilots and airplanes were in the wrong places.

"There's a lot of other issues downstream to all other airports, where flights should be arriving and departing, connecting to Atlanta, that are going to be disrupted as well".

Officials are advising travelers to check with their airline before heading to the airport. "We certainly understand that the outage has caused frustration and anger, and we're doing everything that we can to get folks back home right away".

Power was restored to terminals and for "all essential" airport activities shortly before midnight said Georgia Power, the airport's electricity provider. Travelers at OIA and Tampa's airport were affected because Atlanta is a major hub for airlines.

Passengers at the airport were left in the dark when the lights went out at around 1 p.m. They spent Sunday night on a carpeted floor outside an elevator and hoped to get standby status on a Monday afternoon flight.

Georgia Power said in a statement that its equipment - a piece of switchgear - which was in an underground electrical facility, could have failed and started a fire.

"We'll see if the power comes on before then or not", she said.

CNN Producer Betsy Klein was stuck on a plane that had just landed in Atlanta after the outage.

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy helped hand out sandwiches to travelers stranded at the airport
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy helped hand out sandwiches to travelers stranded at the airport

A traveler slept on a baggage carousel at Hartfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive, said it likely will be Tuesday before Delta's operations return to normal, and for passengers "it could be most of the week" because there aren't many open seats on other flights in the last week before Christmas.

The control tower did not lose power because it has a separate electrical feed, and planes that were in the air and close to Atlanta when the blackout hit were allowed to land.

Almost 1,000 flights in and out of Atlanta, a major hub in the USA system, were canceled Sunday, according to a flight-tracking website.

There are reports from people at the airport that flights are delayed and inbound flights can not deplane due to lack of power in the jetways. At one point, there were at least 40 planes stuck on the runway and tarmac.

It is not known how many flights may be affected.

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines canceled all remaining flights Sunday due to the power outage.

Sara Melillo, who was traveling to Pittsburgh from Kenya, where she lives with her husband, Greg Presto, to spend Christmas with his family were stuck on the tarmac for six hours.

The airport serves an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website.

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