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Power outage slows RDU

Posted March 4, 2010

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— A 75-minute power outage at Raleigh-Durham International Airport closed down ticket counters and delayed flights Thursday morning, officials said.

A Progress Energy crew was working on breakers at the airport when one blew at about 10:30 a.m., knocking out power to both terminals, officials said. Power was restored shortly before noon.

RDU power outage Travelers needed to pack patience during outage

Backup generators powered up during the outage to keep security checkpoints operational and provide enough lighting inside for safety, RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.

"I didn't know if their was a security issue or something like that," said Kathy Bassil, a parent of a passenger. "We actually saw the dogs, too, with a couple of RDU personnel. So, in this day and age, you never know what's going on."

Ticketing computers were knocked offline, and most lights and air conditioning inside the terminals were affected by the outage, Hamlin said.

Airline ticket agents tried to arrange passengers into groups according to their flights and filled out needed paperwork by hand.

"Do I have anyone else for 12:05 Atlanta?" a Delta Airlines agent called out to the crowd of passengers. "Boston, I need you on this side for me, please."

A backup generator continued to power the RDU tower, so air-traffic control wasn't affected and no flights were canceled or diverted, Hamlin said.

Still, some outbound flights were delayed while waiting for passengers, she said, and inbound flights had to sit on the tarmac because the bridges used to get passengers off planes and into the terminals were inoperable.

12 Comments

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  • liskm Mar 4, 6:09 p.m.

    Well, at least it wasn't someone's kid in the cockpit or in the tower "controlling" issues!

  • Travised Mar 4, 5:52 p.m.

    Tower, lights, and the transmissions (beacon, ILS, GPS systems, Radar) are what I deem as "vital". Not sure if they have the pump (fuel) on a separate grid.

    Food services, and check in line/terminals are not. You have to get past the ticket counter to then head to the TSA station. So by means of how it works, TSA is locked down, and you will not get through.

    If needed they could deplane by using a mobile stairs. You'd have to wait somewhere until they get your luggage off, so why pack the airport when you can leave them remaining in the aircraft.

  • fishstory Mar 4, 5:02 p.m.

    The most important thing is whether the technician(s) survived or whether they will be scarred for life. The Progress energy folks have a more dangerous job than you think or realize. The fact of life is, electrical components fail. I hope the workers were not injured. I pray for their families until all are accounted for.

  • theartistformerlyknownasspeedy Mar 4, 3:59 p.m.

    What of VITAL importance wasn't up? It says security, air traffic control and lighting was on.

    The need to sell tickets or make slushies is not vital. I'm sure if they thought it would be very long they would have gotten some stairs and buses to deplane people.

    Some of you people would complain if your ice cubes melt.

  • fishstory Mar 4, 2:50 p.m.

    Welcome to the term used by engineering firms these days. It's called "value engineering". When U see that term, something critical has been cut out, in this case it's in the electrical distribution. But realistically, there would be allot of generator's at low voltage or multiple high voltage generators with a sync system. These types of systems cost millions to purchase, install & maintain & test. But the majority of facilities just don't have the funding. HMMM, thus the term "value engineering". Don't expect average joe to be able to operate a system like that either.

  • tarheelbaby99 Mar 4, 2:15 p.m.

    Maybe one of the air traffic controllers brought their child to work...

  • Road-wearier Mar 4, 2:03 p.m.

    Inoperable jet bridges? Please. I'd think getting people off planes was part of essential operations. And what ever happened to good old fashioned roll-up stairs?

  • mrtwinturbo Mar 4, 1:32 p.m.

    I'd like to see the size of that breaker!!!!

  • PT Mar 4, 1:13 p.m.

    "Backup generators to power the terminals failed".... maybe WRAL added this to the story after it was initially posted?

  • Munchie Mar 4, 12:09 p.m.

    the power flashed 3 times at my job..which is near Brier Creek. something happened in the area.

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