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Atlanta airport loses power, trapping travelers in planes and terminals

NBC NEWS - ATLANTA — Flying home for the holidays was more of a headache than usual for those traveling through the Atlanta airport on Sunday.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta lost power shortly after 1 p.m. eastern time on Sunday reportedly leaving some passengers trapped in planes and inside the airport terminals.

By early evening, the airport had canceled 1,142 flights and delayed 250, according to FlightAware.com.

The airport confirmed the outage on Twitter, and the Federal Aviation Administration said it put a ground stop in place, slowing or halting inbound air traffic.

"The FAA tower can operate normally, however, departures are delayed because airport equipment in the terminals is not working," the federal agency said in a statement.

Georgia Power said in a statement Sunday evening that "the issue may have involved a fire which caused extensive damage to a Georgia Power underground electrical facility."

The airport said power had been restored to one of its six concourses around 7:30 p.m., about seven hours after the initial outage, and Georgia Power said it expects to have power fully restored to the airport by midnight.

Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire and had begun assessing damage and beginning repairs, but they had not yet been able to ascertain the cause of the blaze, the utility said.

Airport officials said a large portion of the facility had been affected and that repair teams had been working to address the situation since around 1:30 p.m. ET.

Delta Airlines, which is headquartered in Atlanta, said it had canceled approximately 900 mainline and Delta Connection flights. Passengers should check the status of their flights, the airline said.

"Pending full resumption of power, Delta anticipates a near-full schedule Monday in Atlanta, though some delays and cancellations can be expected," the airline said on its website.

The airline said it would issue a waiver to those who were traveling through Atlanta with the airline on Dec. 17 or 18. The airline also said it would give travelers a refund if they would like to cancel their trip because their flight was canceled or delayed more than 90 minutes.

Those arriving for their flights were met with long lines and a pitch dark airport. No escalators, elevators or information screens were operational.

According to the airport, Hartsfield-Jackson serves approximately 275,000 passengers and averages 2,500 flight arrivals and departures every day.

For information on flights from Monroe, Louisiana to Atlanta click here http://www.flymonroe.org/

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