Delta Airlines planes are parked at gates after the airlines computer systems crashed leaving the passengers stranded as flights were grounded worldwide at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, USA, August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts – S1BETUGUPPAA
Chaos caused by a nearly 11-hour outage on the world’s busiest airport Sunday is fizzling out, but the consequences linger. Delta Airlines estimates of losses between $25 million and $50 million – and the powerhouse airline wants somebody to pay.
CEO Ed Bastian told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they will be looking for compensation. The airline reported 1,400 cancellations as a result of Sunday’s power outage.
“I don’t know whose responsibility it is between the airport and Georgia Power, but we are going to have conversations with both of them,” Bastian told the AJC Tuesday.
Bastian cited plans for conversations with Georgia Power and the international airport Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, but the question that needs to be allocated, remains unanswered.
Georgia Power told Fox News that while the owner of the electrical equipment in the underground facility that caught fire, the airport is the owner of the tunnel itself.
According to a spokesman for Mayor Kasim Reed’s office, the fire broke out when a piece of Georgia Power switches failed in an underground electrical installation. This happened to be next to redundant switching cables and switching mechanisms, all of which forced the loss of power from two separate back-up power stations – thus the delay in return to full power.
“Understand that we have never had a situation like this, and our redundant system worked perfectly for us probably about three decades,” Airport General Manager Roosevelt Council Jr. told Fox News Monday.
A spokesman for Georgia Power said in a statement that “we cannot and do not guarantee uninterrupted electric power service.”
Lawyer Philip Holloway, a licensed commercial pilot, says that it is still too early to say who the Delta should take to the court. The list of possible suspects ranges from Georgia Power and the Hartsfield-Jackson international airport to the contractors who are responsible for the maintenance of the equipment and the engineers behind the design.
But as soon as the debt is placed, we could see a settlement between the parties. Holloway, says it serves no one to disturb, the strong relationship Delta has with the hub city.
“These are relationships that everyone has an interest in maintaining and so the best way to ruin a good relationship by means of lawsuits,” Holloway said. Disputes, Holloway added, “literally, for years.”
Emilie Ikeda is a multimedia reporter based in Atlanta.