ATLANTA — A power outage at the world’s busiest airport left thousands of passengers stranded in dark terminals and in planes sitting on the tarmac, amid a nationwide ground stop.
Incoming and outgoing flights at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were halted indefinitely as crews worked to restore power, leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations.
Atlanta is the heart of the U.S. air transport system, and what happens there has the potential to ripple through the country.
Denver International Airport said that of the nine remaining flights from Denver to Atlanta on Sunday, five were canceled and others were delayed because of the power issues in Atlanta.
Overall, more than 600 flights to and from Atlanta have been canceled, including 350 departures, according to Flightradar24.
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 domestically and overseas.
The ground stop led Southwest Airlines to cancel all Atlanta operations through 5 p.m. MST, spokesman Brian Parrish said.
Southwest’s international arrivals are exempt from the cancellations, Parrish said, though it’s unclear whether they, too, will be sent to other airports under the diversion plan.
Georgia Power has confirmed it has 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, which 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 said.
“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.”