11 flights delayed by phone outage
By William Cole
Advertiser Staff Writer
By William Cole
Eleven outbound flights from Honolulu International Airport were delayed yesterday afternoon when telecommunications into and out of the airport were cut off for about 2 1/2 hours, the state Department of Transportation said.
The department said technical difficulties with Hawaiian Telcom caused a phone outage beginning about 1:30 p.m., requiring airlines to manually check in passengers.
By 3:53 p.m. communications were restored.
Flights still were able to land and depart with air traffic control functions still operating normally, officials said. Emergency phone lines remained operational.
"It did affect all the airline carriers, because they were unable to electronically process and check in customers," DOT spokeswoman Tammy Mori said. "They had to do it all manually. So for about two hours, it did affect all airline carriers. ... It kind of slowed down the process altogether."
Officials said no flights in the overseas terminal were affected, but eight out of 12 Hawaiian Airlines flights heading out of state were delayed, officials said.
Mesa Air had three interisland flights delayed, officials said.
Hawaiian Telcom officials could not immediately be reached for comment. A message was left with a company spokeswoman.
"I know the area that was affected included the airport area and the surrounding area. I'm not sure what the cause was," Mori said.
The communications problem was the latest in a series of disruptions at Hawai'i airports. An islandwide power outage on O'ahu on Friday resulted in more than a dozen outbound flights at Honolulu International Airport being canceled or delayed. The blackout also caused a huge backup of passengers trying to get through a security screening bottleneck.
On Maui on Christmas Eve, a short circuit caused lights on Kahului Airport's main runway to go out for eight hours, delaying two outbound flights and diverting five inbound flights to Honolulu temporarily.
Reach William Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org.