Skip to main content

Power failure interrupts service at Reagan National Airport

By Paul Courson, CNN
  • Flights interrupted by electrical failure in system that feeds airport
  • Passengers who had not passed screening blocked from entering secure zones
  • Power was restored about an hour after the initial outage, power company said

Washington (CNN) -- An electrical failure at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport interrupted flights and prompted additional security measures for a short time Monday, airport officials said.

Planes were able to take off and land during the outage, thanks to a backup generator supplying power to the air traffic control tower, but many were held at the gate as passengers were delayed at check-in and security, said Tara Hamilton, public affairs manager for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

"The airlines could not process their passengers," Hamilton said. "The computers were down, they could not get their boarding passes, and then for a time, the security checkpoints were down."

She said areas were brought back on line based on priority.

Le-ha Anderson of Dominion Power said full power was restored just over an hour after the initial outage.

"[Crews] were able to identify a piece of equipment within the airport system," she said.

Hamilton said that the airport had not experienced such a power outage before.

Transportation Security Administration workers allowed those who had cleared security checkpoints to remain in gate lounge waiting areas, but those who had not passed screening were blocked from entering the secure zones at the airport until power was restored.

Passenger Matthew Brazier said he was stuck in line for about 40 minutes during the outage,but said airport staff members made themselves available to passengers for questions while the lines were at a standstill.

CNN's Mary G. Lucas contributed to this report.