Oakland Airport Without Electricity for at least an hour!
Today was a relatively routine day for the majority of the day. My work day started at 6am and I was at least half way through my second shift when the rain sprinkles some heavier than others picked up but didn’t seem too bad.
Around 6:30pm while my fellow mechanics and I were hanging out inside the shop awaiting the next gate call we found ourselves caught rather off guard as we were surprised by a power outage. There were basic backup lights around but the whole airport appeared to be without it’s primary source of power.
This lasted for over an hour! Without power, there is no internet and in this fancy day and age, without internet and power there are no phones. We work in the bottom level of the terminal building and rely on cell-phone repeaters throughout the airfield. These didn’t work either.
Imagine an airport with no lights, no phones, no radios to dispatch us, no cell phones, no computers … and even badge scanners for doors that didn’t work.
Overall we were all initially in shock of sorts. Our expectation was that any minute the lights would be back on. It was over an hour before power was restored. Our Maintenance office is in the lowest level of the building – quite isolated from the outside world until there is a reason to go outside. We had not been watching the news before the power out so no idea of the force of the wind outside.
For an hour aircraft were diverted to other airports and only a few planes were allowed to depart. My understanding from a port official was that they were going to try and get as many planes out of Oakland as possible but limit the ones allowed to land. The wind was really howling but in our area of the terminal it wasn’t as obvious till you got away from the protection of the building.
After the power was restored there were still random issues with Jetways not wanting to move and having to be reset. This was a first for me – seeing an airport like Oakland go to near blackout conditions.