Halifax airport runway lights go out after generator controls fail

A two-second power interruption on a Nova Scotia Power main transmission line on Sunday night caused major headaches for passengers on three planes due to land at Halifax International Airport.

Only generator controls that worked properly kept lights on at maintenance and emergency vehicle depot

Flights were delayed at Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Sunday after a two-second power outage resulted in multiple generators malfunctioning. (CBC)

A two-second power interruption on a Nova Scotia Power main transmission line early Monday morning caused major headaches for passengers on three planes due to land at Halifax International Airport.

That's because that brief midnight outage caused four generators that are supposed to supply emergency power to the airport to kick in, which they did.

However, some of the controls between the generators and the airport buildings and the airfield failed.

That meant no power for the runway lights and only half power to the terminal building. The only controls that worked properly kept the lights on at the maintenance and emergency vehicle depot.

According to Ashley Gallant, media relations officer for the airport, electricians are trying to determine why the controls did not work properly.

WestJet flight diverted to Moncton for fuel

The diverted Air Canada, United and WestJet flights eventually did land in Halifax, but much later than scheduled.

Jeff Webber was on WestJet flight 254 from Toronto. It was due to land in Halifax at 12:30 a.m. but was ahead of schedule.

"As we were coming in you know the landing gear was coming out and then next thing we knew the pilot powered back up and gained altitude again," he said. 

"The passengers and I were kind of wondering what was going on. Shortly thereafter he came on and said that we were diverting to Moncton to temporarily land due to a power outage on the landing lights."

Nav Canada media relations manager Ron Singer said control tower operations were not affected by the outage. The tower has its own generator and according to Singer it kicked in immediately.

He said the runway lights were off between 12:09 and 12:41 a.m.

Jeff Webber said the plane he was on was in Moncton long enough to refuel and take off again.

WestJet said there were 106 passengers on that flight. It landed at its destination about 2:10 a.m. Monday morning.

About the Author

Jean Laroche

Reporter

Jean Laroche has been a CBC reporter for 32 years. He's been covering Nova Scotia politics since 1995 and has been at Province House longer than any sitting member.

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