San Jose airport officials investigating weekend power outage

Mineta San Jose International Airport officials are investigating a power outage that impacted some flyers over the weekend. The outage led to service disruptions such as Transportation Security Administration screenings. Some passengers sat on grounded planes for up to an hour. 

Airport officials have said the outage did not compromise critical systems. However, an incident not even close to the airport did slow operations, which prompted the investigation. 

Roughly half a mile from the airport, debris from a car crash on Saturday caused a cascade of problems. Hundreds of passengers were impacted. "This was an isolated incident," said SJ International Airport Spokesperson Ana State. "As far as I know it was the first time the airport was confronted with a situation like this one." She said the loss of one Pacific Gas & Electric pole plunged the airport into darkness. 

The normal hustle and bustle of activity at the airport stopped. Passengers couldn't check in for flights; some had to sit on planes or on the concourse due to lack of electricity.  

An American Federal Government Employees Statement was issued that expressed their concern as to why the airport left "our officers, passengers, and other employees in the dark for over an hour at Terminal A." 

"Ideally an airport should have substantial redundancy in its systems. There should be backups in place to make sure that under any conditions they can continue to operate," said Joshua Schank Mineta Transportation Inst. Research associate.  

Airport officials said they do have 20 backup generators to power the airport's most critical systems, such as air-traffic control. Some experts say making sure backup systems are fully functional often falls by the wayside. 

"Typically elected officials are gonna be very responsive to public need in the near term and they're going to be thinking of large projects they can build in the long term," said Schank. 

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State said a bigger discussion needs to take place to ensure the airport's power and energy supply. 

Airport officials said passenger safety was never compromised during the outage and that the system returned to normal very quickly. There is no clear timeline of how long the airport's investigation will take.