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‘This Impacted Lives’: Georgia Power CEO Apologizes for Blackout, Cancelled Flights at Atlanta Airport

The CEO of Georgia Power is apologizing after several airlines canceled flights on Sunday following an airport-wide power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta.

Paul Bowers, CEO of Georgia Power, issued an apology on Monday, saying the company will learn from what happened over the weekend.

Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Power Paul Bowers attends Usher's New Look Foundation 2012 World Leadership conference on June 22, 2012, in Atlanta.  (Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Usher's New Look Foundation)

Chief Executive Officer of Georgia Power Paul Bowers attends Usher’s New Look Foundation 2012 World Leadership conference on June 22, 2012, in Atlanta. (Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Usher’s New Look Foundation)

“This impacted lives around the globe and for that, we are sorry,” said Bowers. “There’s going to be lessons learned around the United States as well as globally about service points coming into airports—making sure you have fire retardancy, if equipment does fail.”

Although a definitive cause has not been established, according to Georgia Power officials, a piece of switchgear located in an underground electrical facility could have failed and started a fire.

The fire was safely extinguished by fire crews before Georgia Power could enter the area to assess damage and begin repairs. In addition to the fire, responding crews faced hazardous fumes and smoke which had to fully clear prior to beginning restoration work.

Power was restored to the facility around 11:45 p.m. on Sunday night.

FBI Atlanta released a statement regarding the matter on Tuesday, saying: “The FBI is working alongside Georgia Power, Atlanta Fire Rescue and ATF following logical leads into the fire that caused the power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Although it has not been ruled out, at this point there is no information to suggest there was any insider threat or nexus to terrorism.”

As for the airlines, Delta issued travel waivers to customers flying to, from or through Atlanta. The airline says they canceled approximately 900 mainline and Delta Connection flights and diverted 48 flights to alternate airports Sunday. Delta’s flight schedule returned to normal by Monday afternoon, however, the airline says it has temporarily embargoed travel for unaccompanied minors. Details are available at delta.com.

Southwest has also issued a travel waiver for cancellations on Sunday.