UPDATE: Power to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport could be back by midnight

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UPDATE (6:00 p.m.): ATLANTA (CNN) — Georgia Power says it expects the power at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport to be restored by midnight after a day in which the world’s busiest airport left thousands of passengers stranded in dark terminals and in planes sitting on the tarmac.

Incoming and outgoing flights at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport were halted indefinitely as crews worked to restore power, leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations. Atlanta is the heart of the US air transport system, and what happens there has the potential to ripple through the country.

Here are the latest developments:

– In a statement issued at 6:30 p.m. ET, Georgia Power said it believes the “issue may have involved a fire which caused extensive damage in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility. The fire was safely extinguished by fire crews before Georgia Power could enter the area to assess damage and begin repairs.”

– More than 600 flights to and from Atlanta have been canceled, including 350 departures, according to Flightradar24.

– More than 450 Delta mainline and regional flights have been canceled.

– Southwest Airlines has canceled all operations in and out of Atlanta.

– Flights headed to Atlanta are being held on the ground at their departure airport.

– Inbound flights to Atlanta are being diverted, US Customs and Border Protection said.

– Departures from the airport are delayed because electronic equipment is not working in the terminals, the FAA said.

– The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The outage cut power in the terminals, leaving passengers stranded in the dark as they stood in line at gates and security checkpoints.

People used flashlights on their phones to see where they were going, said passenger Heather Kerwin, an Atlanta resident.

“There were a few emergency lights on, but it was really dark — felt totally apocalyptic,” she said. “I decided to get the hell out of there.”

Brittny Dettro said she was waiting to board a flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee when the power went out in Terminal B. She shot this image at 1:10 p.m. ET.

The outage left passengers sitting in planes on the tarmac for hours. Jodi Green’s Delta flight from the Bahamas landed at 1:15 p.m. ET Sunday. As of 4 p.m. she was still on the plane.

The ground stop led Southwest Airlines to cancel all operations in and out of Atlanta for the rest of the day, spokesman Brian Parrish said. Customers are being offered re-bookings without fare differences, he said.

Delta canceled more than 450 Delta mainline and regional flights as a result of the ground stop, the airline said in a statement. Delta is working to deplane customers from aircrafts that have not been able to park at a gate due to the outage.

Georgia Power has confirmed they have crews in the field working to determine the cause of the problem. The outage affects all airport operations, spokesman Reese McCranie said. The airport is currently working with Georgia Power to figure out the cause of the outage, he said.

Atlanta is the largest hub for Delta Air Lines. The airline told passengers to check the status of their flights.

“Delta is aware of a power outage at the Atlanta Airport affecting airport concourses and terminal buildings,” spokesman Michael Thomas told CNN. “Flight disruptions are expected as a result and Delta customers are encouraged check the status of their flight via the Fly Delta Mobile App or Delta.com. More updates to follow.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated when the FAA grounded flights at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Flights were grounded shortly after the airport lost electricity at 1 p.m. ET.

ATLANTA (CNN) — A power outage at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport, is leaving thousands of passengers stranded and planes grounded indefinitely.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for flights to Atlanta at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, meaning that planes are being held at their departure airports, according to a tweet on the airport’s verified Twitter account.

Hartsfield-Jackson handles 2,500 flights and an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website. Because of its size, the outage could have a ripple effect on air traffic both domestically and overseas.

Georgia Power has confirmed they have crews in the field working to determine the cause of the problem. The outage affects all airport operations, spokesman Reese McCranie said. The airport is currently working with Georgia Power to figure out the cause of the outage, he said.

Atlanta is the largest hub for Delta Air Lines, which told passengers to check the status of their flights.

“Delta is aware of a power outage at the Atlanta Airport affecting airport concourses and terminal buildings,” spokesman Michael Thomas told CNN. “Flight disruptions are expected as a result and Delta customers are encouraged to check the status of their flight via the Fly Delta Mobile App or Delta.com. More updates to follow.”

Brittny Dettro said she was waiting to board a flight from Atlanta to Milwaukee when the power went out in Terminal B early Sunday afternoon. She shot this image at 1:10 p.m. ET.

“When the power goes out in one of the world’s biggest airports… yikes! This is crazy ATL!!” she wrote in a Facebook post.

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