Author Topic: Tampa International Airport to close airside for fixes after power outage  (Read 4596 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1562

A power outage at Tampa International Airport on Wednesday night disrupted airport operations and caused some delays for travelers.

The outage — which officials said may have been related to recent storms — occurred just after 9 p.m. Wednesday and affected the main terminal, airsides, rental car center and train systems. All areas of the airport had power returned by about 2 a.m. Thursday, according to the airport’s Twitter account.

Airport officials will temporarily close one airside Thursday night after the unprecedented outage, John Tiliacos, the airport’s executive vice president of operations, said at a news conference Thursday.

Airside F — which carries international flights — will have a scheduled power outage for electrical repairs starting at 6 p.m. Thursday. The airport was working with customs and airlines to move operations to another terminal, Tiliacos said. Travelers should check with their airlines about flight changes.

“We expect our passengers’ experience to be pretty seamless when they depart later today,” Tiliacos said at the news conference Thursday afternoon.

Most airport operations have been restored to normal, though there are still extensive repairs to be done by TECO at Airside F.

“We have to actually repair a large piece of equipment and replace it and also replace some cabling,” said Tampa Electric airport manager Drew Sirianni.

The repairs were expected to take about seven hours, Sirianni said.

Sirianni said they still haven’t found the cause of the outage, though they are looking at the thunderstorms that hit the region.

“Whether it be lightning or water intrusion, we’re just not sure yet,” Sirianni said.

Normally when there’s an outage, the airport has a loop that detects issues and has a backup to restore power. That didn’t happen Wednesday night for Airside A and F, Sirianni said. Airside A was quickly restored by TECO but it took longer for Airside F, where they found more extensive damage.

“What happened tonight was really unusual,” Adam Bouchard, the airport’s vice president of operations, told reporters Wednesday night. ”It’s never happened before that we know of.”

All flights affected by the outset of the power outage had been handled and assisted as of about 11:45 p.m. Wednesday, Bouchard said. At the time, the airport was working through boarding the last few delayed flights, which were running about 30 to 45 minutes behind.

While power was out at the airport, operations continued on emergency generator power, Bouchard said. The generators can run emergency light and power, though it can only support a few jet bridges — what you use to walk on and off a plane — at a time, Bouchard said.

“We cannot use all of the jet bridges on any one airside, simply the power draw is too substantial,” Bouchard said.

The hold-up in jet bridges meant fewer gates could be used and caused more delays, Bouchard said. The airport could park only about three aircraft at a time and get those passengers off the plane. Once those passengers were deplaned, airport employees moved on to the next flight.