Power Outage Delays San Antonio Flights

Most of San Antonio International Airport was shut down Friday, some parts for almost two hours, after a crew constructing a parking garage cut an electric line.

Officials stopped flights and closed security checkpoints as hundreds of delayed passengers queued up in the dark.

"There were no flight cancellations, only delays," airport spokeswoman Nora Castro said. "After the lights were on, everything went very smoothly. Security wasn't compromised."

Castro said she didn't know who the contractor was.

City Public Service learned at 9:32 a.m. that the electric line had been cut, spokesman Bob McCullough said. Some power was restored at 10:15 a.m. and most of the rest by 11:15 a.m.

The main passenger terminal, where Southwest Airlines is located, lost some power while the other, older terminal lost all juice except what was feeding emergency lights such as exit signs, Castro said.

Some area businesses also lost power, but the airport tower and runway lights kept operating.

Fourteen flights with 1,306 passengers booked were held up anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Southwest Airlines, which handles a third of the traffic at the airport here, had seven delays.

"It was, fortunately, not a significant event," Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said.

When the power blinked off, officials closed six of the nine security checkpoint lanes and five of the six baggage-scanning pods, said Leo Vasquez, director of federal security at San Antonio's airport. Guards were placed at employee entrances and luggage doors.

"People just can't get in," Vasquez said.

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