Blackout at Cape Town International Airport

Passengers, including foreign tourists are using the lights on their mobile phones to assist airport staff.

The Cape Town International Airport. Picture: SA Tourism

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town International Airport is currently experiencing a power outage that has affected several operations.

Lights out at Cape Town Airport. Baggage being offloaded manually. @ewnreporter

  • Wesley Petersen (@WesleyPetersen) October 27, 2015 Eskom says a fire at its airport substation has affected more than 20,000 of the power utility's customers in the airport industria and surrounding areas.

Eskom's Jolene Henn said, "This morning we had an unplanned interruption due to a fire at the airport substation. Our technical staff are currently on site, but we can only start with the actual repair work once the fire has been extinguished and the area has been declared safe."

She says technicians are working to restore power.

"Our technical staff has started with all the repair work at the substation, but we've also tried to pick up some customers via alternative supply points. At this stage, we estimate full restoration time at approximately 4pm."

Henn says an investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the fire.

"At this stage, we cannot confirm when the power will be completely restored to all the affected areas, but we do ask that all the customers must please treat all installations as live for the full duration of the outage."

Passengers disembarked into a dark and chaotic baggage retrieval area.

Passengers on board flight MN121 from Johannesburg have also been told there's been a power outage at the airport.

No carousels are operating at the baggage retrieval section and escalators are out as well.

This poses a big challenge for those in wheelchairs who wait on airport staff to assist them.

Passengers, including anxious foreign tourists used the lights on their mobile phones to assist airport staff.

ACSA's Deidre Davids says flights have been delayed by up to 30 minutes.

"At approximately 10am this morning, the airport lost the main power feed from Eskom as a result of a fire at the Eskom substation. We are currently running on essential back up power, which allows for core systems to continue to operate."

Nyanga, Bishop Lavis and Heilbot are among the areas affected by the outage.

Images: Tim Thabethe