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Monday, July 31, 2000
Power fails again at Sydney Airport's control tower

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Sydney Airport's control tower had its second power outage in less than a month Tuesday, grounding aircraft for an hour and leaving passengers facing lengthy delays.

 The brief power outage again set alarm bells ringing with less than 50 days to go before the Olympic Games and the airport's busiest weeks ever.

 The Olympics begin Sept. 15 in Sydney.

 Electricity to the control power failed at about 7:50 a.m., and although a backup system kicked in immediately, no flights left for an hour, airport spokesman Eric Aubert said. Power was restored at 8:50 a.m.

 The delay created a backlog of 15 domestic and seven international flights.

 Aubert said passengers had delays of up to an hour.

 Richard Dudley, a spokesman for Airservices Australia, the government organization that oversees air traffic control, said even though the airport had full backup power, takeoffs stopped until Airservices worked out what caused the problem.

 But he insisted the outage and the airport's quick response showed aviation authorities were ready for the Olympics.

 "We were able to spring into action very quickly and ... minimize delays to both aircraft and passengers as much as possible," he said.

 "All agencies within (the) airport are working very hard to get any glitches out of the system as quickly as possible. We are very confident of our role during the Olympics."

 The cause of the outage was being investigated.

 On July 6, a power blackout at Sydney Airport briefly shut down radar and cut communications between air traffic controllers and planes.

 A computer glitch caused a 2-minute blackout and computer systems took another 10 minutes to reboot, forcing pilots into holding patterns.
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