Over the last 24 months no less than a dozen airports have suffered power-delivery outages that affected flight operations. Most recent among these are outages occurring at Austin's Bergstrom International Airport and Dallas-Ft. Worth International, where power delivery system failures shut down airport operations and deprived passenger terminals and control towers of critical operating power.
Most notable and severe among these was the December 17th outage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport which resulted in an-hour outage that cost Delta Airlines over $50 million dollars in lost revenues and attendant expenses. (Read the case study)
The failures at Atlanta and Austin share a common root-cause - failure of aging equipment and infrastructure like cable splices and vacuum switchgear. In the case of Dallas-Ft. Worth a fire in the fuel farm erupted after a fuel pump motor overheated, igniting fuel in the supply lines and disrupting air traffic and fueling operations for several hours.
Based upon lessons learned from the Atlanta outage we can say with confidence that these sorts of outages are avoidable with the use of next-generation thermal monitoring technology that can perform minute-by-minute measurement and analysis of common points of failure like splices, switches and transformers that are found in large numbers in every airport's underground power and data distribution tunnels.
Working with Southern Company's Georgia Power in the wake of the Atlanta outage Power Intelligence LLC has developed a purpose-built solution for large-scale deployment of thermal monitoring of these critical power delivery components. In the case of Atlanta over 100 thermal imaging cameras were deployed throughout the underground complex and today provide 100% coverage of every common point of failure.
The Atlanta installation provides a blueprint that may be easily adapted by any airport authority and their utility partners to rapidly deploy a preventative solution to these looming threats.
Airports are vital to the success of our economy—from the national to the local level. The need to replace critical aging infrastructure is not going away—and time is running out as conditions continue to deteriorate. Click here to learn more about how thought leaders address these issues with advanced technology and best practices. Stay tuned for our next post for solutions to renovation challenges.