Passengers speak out after TIA runway goes dark

Published: Nov. 5, 2017 at 1:05 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:15 AM MST
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Friday night's outage impacted nearly a dozen flights into Tucson (Source: Tucson News Now).
Friday night's outage impacted nearly a dozen flights into Tucson (Source: Tucson News Now).

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson News Now is asking questions as to why the Tucson International Airport suddenly lost power on the runway.

For nearly two hours on Friday night, the entire airfield went dark. It forced planes to divert to other airports and delayed hundreds of passengers.

"It was a little shocking. It was unreal. We were ready to come home,' passenger, Gina Ramirez, said.

"I was like oh, no," passenger, Debby Cheney said.

Cheney was returning to Tucson from the Island of St. Thomas. After her marathon travel day, she was eager to land, but to her dismay the pilot was forced to change course.

"I noticed on the little flight plan thing that something wasn't quite right. All the sudden he's like we're being diverted to Phoenix," Cheney said.

According to TIA more than 3.2 million passengers fly in and out of their airport every year. Many of the people Tucson News Now talked to were shocked to see an airport of this size, left in the dark.

"I've never heard of anything like this before," passenger, Brian Ortmeier said.

"The fact that they don't have any alternative plans is scary, especially considering the airports and what's happened in the airports and it's like wait a minute, what else don't we have backup plans for," passenger, Michelle Carrasco said.

Tucson News Now called TIA Spokeswoman, Jessie Butler.

Tucson News Now: "Why didn't a backup system kick-in to keep the lights on?"

TIA:  "There was something going on with their airfield lights so that's not something that like a generator can back up I don't think."

Power was restored to one of the runways just before 10 o'clock. For passengers like Cheney, she said this is unacceptable and wants to put the whole experience behind her.

Tucson News Now:  "What's it like now to finally be on the ground?"

"Good, I'm tired and I'm going home," Cheney said.

TIA said they do have backup generators for the airport terminal. They will be meeting on Monday morning with all of the different airport department managers to get to the bottom of this, and make sure it doesn't happen again.

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