Thousands of people remain stranded in Atlanta after a Sunday afternoon blackout caused the world’s busiest airport to be shut down for hours.
A fire at 1:06 pm in an underground facility caused the outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, leaving grounded passengers stuck on tarmacs for hours. Every commercial airline canceled flights into and out of the airport, and all international travel was diverted.
Georgia Power believes that a piece of its switchgear could have failed and started a fire. The fire was next to circuit cables and switching mechanisms and those cables were damaged, causing the resulting in the outage and also losing backup services.
The airport was completely evacuated, with passengers being taken to the Georgia International Convention Center for overnight housing and Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A providing more than 2,000 free meals to evacuees.
Power was restored shortly before midnight.
Besides canceling 900 flights on Sunday, Delta Air Lines has canceled 300 flights on Monday, with the airport’s largest tenant telling travelers to expect more delays as the day progresses.
About 30,000 people were affected by the power outage at the airport.
Shuttles and bus services transported some passengers to the Georgia International Convention Center, and additional arrangements were made at Georgia World Congress Center. Others stayed at nearby hotels, while some are choosing to stay at the airport.