Holiday travel ramps up at DIA amid Atlanta outage

Jackson International Airport seen on Tuesday

Minutes after its midnight deadline to get the electricity back on at the world's busiest airport, Georgia Power announced early Monday that power had been fully restored to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, where more than 1,000 flights were grounded just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush.

While power has been restored to the world's busiest airport, the travel woes are expected to linger for days at USA airports, including Logan.

Thousands of passengers were left stranded after a blaze at the main substation powering the 6.8 million-square-foot airport triggered the power outage just after 1 p.m., Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed told reporters Sunday at a news conference.

"First and most importantly, I want to express my honest apologies to the thousands of passengers whose day has been disrupted in this manner", Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said during a Sunday night news conference. City and airport officials there are distributing sandwiches to passengers who are stranded due to the power outage.

Emilia Duca, 32, a Delta passenger, was on her way to Wisconsin from Bogota, Colombia, when she got stuck in Atlanta. Atlanta's Mayor Kasim Reed says a fire caused the massive outage and also damaged backup systems that are created to keep the lights and essential power on during an emergency. Southwest Airlines (LUV) canceled the remainder of its flights to and from the Atlanta airport on Sunday. The airport terminals were dark and crowded with travelers. Travelers at OIA and Tampa's airport were affected because Atlanta is a major hub for airlines.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire and declined to rule out terrorism as of late Sunday, NBC News reported.

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Delta Air Lines lost power in August 2016, causing more than 2,000 flight cancellations over several days.

A spokesman for Delta, by far the biggest airline at the airport, said most of its delayed passengers were booked on other flights scheduled to leave Monday.

"We'll see if the power comes on before then or not", she said. Only a handful of flights have been canceled for Monday morning. American Airlines canceled 24 departures and an equal number of arrivals, said spokesman Ross Feinstein. The cause of the fire had not been determined.

No areas outside of the airport were affected by the power loss. Most travelers were patient as the world's busiest airport recovered from the outage. Planes also were not departing the airport.

That wasn't enough to comfort Jeff Smith, 46, of Pittsburgh, who ended up stuck in a plane on the tarmac for three hours after it landed. That brought the airport to a standstill and grounded more than a thousand flights.

Some passengers reported being stuck in airplanes on the tarmac for hours. Almost 2,500 planes arrive and depart each day.