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LAX power outage disrupts airport operations, leads to canceled and delayed flights

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Posted at 7:25 AM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-06 11:32:56-04

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Operations at Los Angeles International Airport were returning to normal Thursday morning after a power outage knocked out electricity for nearly four hours, affecting everything from lighting to passenger bridges, from terminals to planes, before power was restored.

The outage struck about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and was caused by a power 'bump' at an off-airport Los Angeles Department of Water and Power substation, which caused a power disruption throughout the airport, according to airport officials. It caused 21 flight cancellations and at least seven diversions of flights, according to an airport official.

Power was restored within an hour to terminals 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 and the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Terminals 1, 7 and 8 remained with only emergency power. LADWP personnel were called in to restore power to those terminals and the city Department of Transportation was summoned to reset traffic signals in the terminal area.

"This morning, at approximately 5:30 a.m., all passengers and employees in Terminal 1 ... were asked to exit the secure area of the terminal to be rescreened," the airport said in a statement about 7 a.m. Thursday. "This action was taken at the direction of the Transportation Security Administration and out of an abundance of caution, due to the disruption of power experienced by LAX the previous evening.

"LAX Airport Police officers led the clearing of the terminal and security sweeps, and additional officers were brought in to assist with crowd and traffic control.

Around 6:30 a.m., the security sweep was completed and TSA began the process of screening Terminal 1 employees. At 6:40 (a.m.), TSA began screening guests," the statement said.

"Currently, all screening lanes are open in Terminal 1 and TSA is working with LAXPD and Airport Operations to help expedite the repopulation process. It is anticipated this process will take less than one hour," the statement said.

Power was restored to Terminal 7 around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, Terminal 8 about 9:50 and Terminal 1 around 10 p.m. Power was restored to Parking Structures 1 and 7 and the LAX gateway pylons shortly thereafter, an airport official said.

Passengers on at least some Southwest Airlines planes at Terminal 1, where the airline is located, were unable to disembark because the jet bridges were not functioning.

Around 9:30 p.m., officials said Southwest Airlines had canceled 18 flights scheduled to leave Wednesday night.

Three United flights were canceled, seven others were diverted and 15 more were delayed, officials said.

"During the outage, Los Angeles Airport Police deployed traffic officers to the (Central Terminal Area) and surrounding streets to assist with traffic flow," the airport said. Officers were also assigned to the ticketing areas to help with crowd management and provide directions for passengers, as well as maintain security at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints.