A power outage left the control tower at Colombia’s main airport without radar for eight minutes, the civil aviation agency said today, admitting the incident was “serious.”
The blackout happened yesterday when two power stations failed, cutting electricity to El Dorado International Airport in Bogota – whose control tower coordinates not only flights to and from the capital but the entire country’s air traffic.
“We were blind for several minutes, until (power) was restored,” said Gustavo Lenis, director of the agency that regulates commercial flights.
“It was serious,” he added in remarks to radio network BLU.
He said air traffic controllers had been able to maintain contact with pilots using battery-operated radios.
“In the end nothing happened, fortunately, and we regained control,” he said.
The head of the Colombian Civil Pilots’ Association, Jorge Mario Medina, said some 60 flights had been placed at risk by the blackout.
“The radar control center delivers information during a critical phase. The aircraft are all converging on the area and the danger of collision is immense,” he told AFP.
On average 25 million passengers a year pass through the airport, according to the last official estimate in 2013.