Power outage at airport hits critical security operations

Power outage at airport hits critical security operations

TNN | Oct 8, 2012, 06.01AM IST

KOLKATA: A 40-minute power cut at the airport on Sunday disrupted normal functioning during evening rush hour. With even back-up power supply to critical security systems like baggage X-ray affected for half the period, passenger check-in was stopped, delaying at least one flight. The situation would have been immensely worse had supply not been restored while daylight was still there.

According to sources at the airport, power supply went off at 3.36pm, shutting off not just air-conditioning at the terminal and airline systems at check-in desks, even standalone X-ray machines used to screen checked-in baggage shut down, stranding all passengers who were carrying check-in baggage. Within minutes, serpentine queues before the X-ray machines clogged the departure terminal.

“Since passengers with luggage other than cabin bags could not proceed for checking in, the entire process was held up. Only passengers with cabin bags were manually checked in,” an airline official said. As more passengers walking in to catch flights got stranded, the check-in lounge became increasingly stuffy.
Fortunately, the back-up supply to the X-ray machines was restored after 15 minutes, allowing baggage screening to resume.

Airport officials said it had taken longer to switch on generators due to manpower crunch on Sunday. Though staff is deployed in shifts daily, there are fewer on duty during weekends. Airline staff had to deal with frayed tempers even after X-ray machines became operational as lengthy queues forced passengers to wait for nearly half an hour.

Full power was restored only at 4.16pm.

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