Unexplained power outage at second major airport

On January 4th a power outage at Washington’s Reagan National Airport caused the cancellation and delay of several flights. The problem was traced to a nearby substation but, so far as I can tell, the actual cause was either never discovered or never announced. Now comes this story about Cleveland Hopkins Airport in Ohio where the power apparently went out at about 0600 this morning:

A power outage at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport has canceled several flights as electric crews investigate what caused the early morning failure.

Airport spokeswoman Jackie Mayo says power went out about 6:50 a.m. Sunday and Continental and US Airways canceled flights until 6 p.m.

Mayo says the cause of the outage is unknown and crews from Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. were on site trying to figure out what happened.

I’ve worked at major airports in the commercial aviation field during my career. Power backup is a serious issue for airports for a variety of extremely obvious reasons. So when I hear about airports suffering blackouts in fairly close proximity in terms of time (these 2 within a week or each other) I have some alarm bells going off. Lighting one’s boxers on fire in an attempt to blow up a plane isn’t the only method of disrupting the nation’s transportation grid.

Increased vigilance is called for and a more detailed explanation of what happened is certainly due the public.