Power Outage Really Means "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas"

June 15, 2018

By Erik Linask - Group Editorial Director

For about 90 minutes on Wednesday morning, the saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” had a very literal meaning, as a power outage at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport caused delays for thousands of passengers.  Terminal 1 serves American Airlines, Delta, and Southwest Airlines – the three largest airlines in the U.S. – as well as Allegiant and Spirit. 

The airlines were forced to delay inbound flights from several cities, created a ripple effect throughout the day.  Southwest, Allegiance (News - Alert), and Spirit were under group stops, meaning they did not allow inbound flights to take off from their departure airports.  Southwest also cancelled 13 inbound flights.

The outage also impacted baggage claim, which were shut down for the duration of the outage, adding to the buildup of both in- and outbound passengers waiting in a crowded airport with the temperature outside hitting 108 degrees.

McCarran officials said the outage was caused by a faulty wire, and Nevada Energy confirmed an off-site cable went down knocking out power.  Once the feed was re-routed, power was restored and the airport, which had been running on backup generators, was returned to full service.

As we head into the summer months, high temperatures and humidity always strains power resources, but this outage is a reminder that outages can happen at any time for any number of reasons.  At McCarran airport, the delays inconvenienced thousands of passengers and resulted in lost revenue for airlines as they were forced to rebook passengers in seats that might otherwise have been purchased by others. 

On a more general level, though, power outages disrupt all businesses within their areas of impact, and have the potential to do cause even greater disruption if equipment is damaged by the outage.  The best way for any business to protect its assets is by installing a power protection system that regulates line voltage to protect equipment from power fluctuations, while also providing short-term of extended backup power. Depending on configuration, UPS systems can provide enough standby power for equipment to be safely shut down, preventing data loss and eliminating risk at the point of restoration, or larger systems can keep systems operational for longer periods.

Edited by Erik Linask