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General News of Monday, 16 March 2015

Source: graphic.com

Blackout hits Kotoka Int’l Airport; Flights suspended for 3hrs

Passengers travelling through the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) last Friday evening had to endure hours of uncertainty and anxiety as a result of a blackout that affected parts of the airport.

The power failure was attributed to a cable fault and it affected the operations of the airport, as pre-departure formalities, flights, arrivals and departures had to be suspended until the problem was resolved.

The incident, which happened around 6.30 p.m., lasted for three hours, during which period some officials, especially those at the Departure Hall, had to rely on rechargeable lamps to process passenger documents until the power was restored around 9.30 p.m.

“Throughout the period, we were in touch with flights coming in and in talks with those that were to take off, so there was no problem,” an official of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL) told the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity.

While parts of the airport were without light, the immediate environs of the airport was lit.

A statement issued by the GACL to explain the problem said its engineers had traced the problem to a fault in one of the electrical cables supplying power to the southern section of the terminal, resulting in a cut in power supply to those areas.

Past blackouts

It was not the first time in recent times that the country’s premier airport had been engulfed in darkness.

On March 2, 2009, the KIA was hit with erratic power outages, leaving travellers stranded for the better part of an hour.

On November 7, 2012, the rampant power outages across the country took its toll on the KIA when it was hit with a total blackout for close to an hour.

According to media reports, the 2012 power outage disrupted serious activities, including the landing of flights because the Control Tower could not function effectively.

To make a bad situation worse, the airport’s stand-by generating set also failed to power the place on time for business to return to normalcy.

Back-up power supply

The GACL emphasised that the airport “has a total back-up power supply of 5,000kva which automatically takes over when the ECG mains supply goes off”.

“In the case of the outage that occurred, ECG power supply to the airport was available but could not be transferred to certain portions of the airport due to the faulty cable. Engineers were on site to identify and restore power,” it said.

The statement said during the period of the outage, safety and security at the airport were not compromised.

“The management of GACL apologises for the inconvenience caused and assures the general public of a swift intervention when issues of this nature arise,” it added.