LaGuardia Without Power, Closed Temporarily Due to Massive Transformer Explosion

Dec 28, 2018

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Shortly after 9pm local time on Thursday, a massive transformer explosion at the Con Edison power plant in Astoria, Queens, lit up the New York City skies — and social media too, with questions about what happened. Seemingly as a result of the explosion, New York’s LaGuardia airport has been left without power, with is currently wrecking havoc on flights in the crowded New York City skies.

Around 9:30pm, FlightRadar24 tracked numerous inbound LGA flights that needed to interrupt their approach and circle:

At 9:40pm, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for LaGuardia, closing the airport until at least 10:30pm. The reason for the ground stop is listed as “Port Authority closed airport for airport inspection.”

One of the passengers who landed just before the ground stop reports that their flight has “no communication with the tower.”

Photos and videos from inside LaGuardia show only emergency lighting due to the power outage:

https://twitter.com/aymeeleeah/status/1078476725296742400

Update 10:10pm: According to FlightRadar24, 16 flights bound for LaGuardia have diverted since 9pm.

Update 10:25pm: The last arrival before the ground stop occurred at 9:27pm. The ground stop was cancelled and arrivals resumed at 9:55pm with JetBlue flight 672 from Fort Lauderdale. 11 arrivals have occurred in the 30 minutes after the ground stop cancellation.

Update 10:40pm: LaGuardia Airport’s social media presence was silent through much of the situation. In it’s first tweet about the situation at 10:22pm, the airport notes that passengers should “allow extra time when coming to the airport.”

In a second tweet about the situation, LGA Airport notes that “many flights are departing, some are not.”

Update 10:51pm: Inbound passenger Alex Magnin chronicled his experience on Twitter. After being told that “they are waiting to get the backup generators on so we can get off the plane” and that “our pilot told via radio the lights in the terminal not adequate for deplaning,” he reported back at 10:30pm that he was “deplaned, cabbed” and that the airport “seems back in working order now.”

Update 11:05pm: LaGuardia tweeted at 11:00pm that “power is operational at all terminals.” Passengers are encouraged to check with the airline for the status of their flight:

Update 11:23pm: The last LGA takeoff before the ground stop occurred at 9:22pm. No flights departed the airport until JetBlue flight 499 from LGA to Orlando (MCO) departed at 11:00pm. Only one other flight has taken off since then, and it was also JetBlue: flight 1371 to Fort Lauderdale (FLL).

FlightRadar24 lists 87 aircraft on the ground at LaGuardia. 68 of these aircraft are commercial aircraft that have arrived at the airport since 5:30pm.

Update 11:31pm: FlightRadar24 shows eerily-empty skies around LaGuardia at this time:

Update 11:39pm: FlightView’s departures board for LGA shows that airlines are still planning to push around 11 more flights between now and 12:45am ET:

Featured image by Benjamin Passikoff@benpassikoff via Twitter.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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