There was an eerie feel to the corridors of OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday, as a power cut rendered a majority of its electricity supply useless. A nearby sub-station had exploded earlier in the morning, and the entire Kempton Park region has been plunged into darkness – including SA’s busiest travel hub.
Despite the lack of electricity, the show must go on at OR Tambo. Thousands of travellers have carried on with their business as usual since the power went out – but it’s made life extremely difficult for some.
How OR Tambo has been affected by the blackout
South Africans have been questioning whether the power failure was linked to the recent round of load shedding experienced in the country. We can confirm that’s not the case, and it is solely related to the sub-station fire. However, what does seem to be a head-scratcher is why the back-up generators aren’t working. Complaints raised with the blackout include:
Long queues at passport control.
A lack of restaurant outlets able to provide food or drinks.
Issues identifying bags and personal belongings without adequate lighting.
Flights ‘largely unaffected’ despite power issues
We’re yet to get a response from any of our initial inquiries, but we are expecting a statement from OR Tambo Airport and aviation officials at some point this afternoon. Flight disruptions remain at a minimum – and you can check the status of all flights in and out of Johannesburg here – but those arriving into Johannesburg may face a long wait to collect their luggage.
As darkness engulfed the entire airport, travellers were left spooked by just how weird things became. Not only did the public have to use cellphone torches to find their bags, but the walk through the international departure gate looked like something plucked straight out of a horror movie.