by: Jaclyn Ramkissoon, Ricky Garcia
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travelers were left in the dark for over two hours and counting at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport early Wednesday morning.
The airport posted on social media confirming a power outage in Barbara Jordan Terminal. It said, “airport teams have been dispatched to investigate the cause of the outage.” An AUS spokesperson told KXAN just before 6:30 a.m. backup generators kicked in and have only partially brought back power. That’s why the lights are on in the photos of the security line below.
AUS said no flights are departing as of 5:45 a.m. as crews work to find the cause of the outage and restore power. If you have a flight Wednesday morning, the airport is asking you to check your flight status as the time will change.
KXAN crews inside the terminal said security lines are in operation and moving as of 7:40 a.m.
The Austin Police Department told KXAN around 5:30 a.m. airport police are blocking entrances into the airport. Airport roadways are being closed for the time being, AUS said.
Traffic backups are collecting along Highway 71 because of the closures. Travelers who have flights Wednesday morning are being advised not to drive into the airport at the moment, an AUS spokesperson said.
The Del Valle Independent School District, which is in the area of the airport, said it is rerouting some bus routes around the traffic. There are some delays, and the district is pointing parents to use Smart Tag, which will help to provide real-time updates on bus locations.
Right now, AUS said it doesn’t have an estimated time for when the power would be restored, but a KXAN photographer inside the terminal said an announcement was made that power is expected to be out for another hour. That was just before 5:45 a.m.
Austin Energy is working with AUS teams to assess the outage. The utility said all power lines near the airport are underground. It’s using fault indicators to help locate where the issue is.
KXAN viewers sent in photos and videos showing the outage started as early as 4:30 a.m.
AUS is asking people to follow the instructions of AUS staff. The airport is expected to post updates on social media.
This is the second issue the airport terminal has experienced within a month.
On Aug. 10, all passengers in Barbara Jordan Terminal had to evacuate due to a falsely-triggered fire alarm. The airport explained then a water main break on the airport apron, or the space where planes are parked as passengers board and deplane, set off the fire alarm. All evacuated passengers had to re-enter to terminal and be rescreened by security.
Passengers on Wednesday morning weren’t forced to evacuate because of the power outage. An AUS spokesperson explained an outage doesn’t necessarily trigger an evacuation; a full evacuation is done when there is a safety concern.
This past Friday was the second-busiest day ever at Austin’s airport as thousands of people traveled for the Labor Day holiday. A total of 34,611 departing passengers were recorded that day, airport officials said.