By Maria-Jose Subiria
A concourse at the world's busiest airport experienced a power outage lasting about seven hours Monday morning, according to a spokeswoman for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Katena Carvajales said that, at about 5 a.m., a power outage hit the south end of Concourse B. It impacted 18 gates operated by Delta Air Lines. Atlanta's airport has a total of 199 gates, she added.
Delta Air Lines accommodated passengers, and transferred flights to other gates at the airport, said the spokeswoman. Passengers were advised to check their flight status with the airline, she explained. Carvajales said Georgia Power assisted in restoring the power, and it was fully restored around noon.
"In an e-mailed statement on Monday, Carvajales said: "We do not ... have any other information at this time, including the cause of the outage."
When asked what caused the power outage at the airport, Konswello Monroe, a spokesperson for Georgia Power, said that Georgia Power was "only on-site to assist them [Hartsfield-Jackson] on fixing the problem. It is a problem on their end, not a Georgia Power problem."
Monroe said she could not provide any further information on the matter.
Anthony Black, a spokesman for Delta Air Lines, said due to the outage, the airline's flights were transferred to different gates at Hartsfield-Jackson, and some experienced cancellations and delays. "When we became aware of the power outage, we determined how we needed to handle the situation," said Black, during a phone interview. He said about two dozen Delta flights were canceled, which affected about five percent of passengers coming through Atlanta on Monday.
He said flight delays lasted up to an hour, and affected only inbound flights to Hartsfield-Jackson. "Events like this allow us to remind customers to always check on the status of their flights, before departing to the airport," said Black. Delta Air Lines' operations are back to normal, said Black, at about 3:30 p.m., on Monday.
Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Southern Region, said at the request of Delta Air Lines, FAA implemented a "Ground Stop" for Delta's mainline flights early on Monday. Bergen said Delta mainline flights are "Delta Air Lines flights, not ASA [Atlantic Southeast Airlines] or other Delta Connections flights."
Bergen said she was not aware of the exact time "Ground Stop" was implemented, but that "Ground Stop" kept Delta Air Lines' flights to Hartsfield-Jackson on the ground at the airports they were to depart from.
According to Bergen, Delta requested that "Ground Stop" be changed to a "Ground Delay Program" at about 8:45 a.m. The program allowed for only 40 arrivals per hour at Hartsfield-Jackson.
"In a [Ground Delay Program], flights are delayed for a specific amount of time, or a defined number of arrivals are allowed to land at an airport per hour," explained Bergen.
In addition, said the spokeswoman, Delta Air Lines canceled flights, so the air traffic control tower handled fewer flights on Monday morning.