A power outage on Baton Rouge Metro Airport property that began Friday night and continued into Saturday, shut down fuel pumps at the airport and forced four commercial flights to make unplanned stops at other airports to refuel.
The outage began around 5:30 p.m. Friday and was localized on airport property at the intersection of Merle Gustafson Drive and Chuck Yeager Avenue, the site of the Signature Flight fuel farm that provides fuel to commercial airliners at BTR.
Entergy provides power to the site. Entergy spokesperson David Freese says via email that the outage was because of an underground cable failure, which was repaired on Saturday.
Only the Signature Flight facility and its pumps were affected, not the adjacent BTR Jet Center or the airport terminal itself, says airport executive director Mike Edwards.
Signature, which has contracts with all three commercial carriers at BTR—American, Delta and United airlines—initially had enough fuel in its trucks to fill airliners on the ground.
But as the outage stretched into Saturday morning, Edwards says four departing flights that took off between 6 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. were forced to make unplanned stops in order to continue to their final destination.
“As we do with any outage, we will review the case with our engineering and operations teams to see what opportunities we have to improve upon the service that we provide to this critical customer,” Freese says.
The airport incident is the latest black eye for the utility, which is squarely in the crosshairs of regulators with the Louisiana Public Service Commission and New Orleans City Council for the total collapse of the New Orleans power grid following Hurricane Ida.
The utility also has been at odds with City Hall in Baton Rouge over burned-out and broken lights on Interstate 10 through the heart of the city.