A power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has left thousands of passengers at the world’s busiest airport stranded in the dark and sitting in planes on the tarmac as incoming and outgoing flights were halted indefinitely.
The Federal Aviation Administration issued a nationwide ground stop for flights to Atlanta at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, meaning that planes are being held at their departure airports, the airport said on its verified Twitter account. Many inbound flights to Atlanta are being diverted, including international flights, US Customs and Border Protection said.
The cause of the incident is under investigation. Departures from the airport are delayed because electronic equipment is not working in the terminals, the FAA said.
Hartsfield-Jackson handles 2,500 flights and an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website. Because of its size the outage could have a ripple effect on air traffic both domestically and overseas.
The ground stop led Southwest Airlines to cancel all operations in and out Atlanta for the rest of the day, spokesman Brian Hawkins said. Customers are being offered re-bookings without fare differences, he said.
Georgia Power has confirmed they have crews in the field working to determine the cause of the problem. The outage affects all airport operations, spokesman Reese McCranie said. The airport is currently working with Georgia Power to figure out the cause of the outage, he said.
Atlanta is the largest hub for Delta Air Lines. The airline told passengers to check the status of their flights.
“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.”
Brittny Dettro said she was waiting to board a flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee when the power went out in Terminal B early Sunday afternoon. She shot this image at 1:10 p.m. ET.
The outage darkened the terminals, causing people to use flashlights on their phones to see where they were going, said passenger Heather Kerwin, an Atlanta resident.
“There were a few emergency lights on but it was really dark — felt totally apocalyptic,” she said. “I decided to get the hell out of there.”