Chicken blamed in power outage

A chicken got into a Maui Electric Co. transformer in the rental car area at Kahului Airport on Tuesday afternoon, causing a power outage at the airport that left some passengers having to disembark their planes the old way – by mobile stairway.

The outage began at 2:07 p.m. when a chicken got into transformer in the rental car area and caused a short in the equipment, said MECO spokeswoman Kau’i Awai-Dickson on Tuesday afternoon.

Customers affected were the airport and nearby businesses, including the rental car companies, the Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport hotel and Kmart. Costco was not affected, according to MECO.

As of 2:34 p.m., all customers were restored with power except for the rental car companies located just outside the airport. All power was restored at 3:25 p.m., Maui Electric reported.

At the airport, the backup generator kicked on but a shorted circuit board did not send power to the terminal, said Marvin Moniz, Maui District airport manager Tuesday afternoon. Power was out for about 30 minutes.

Moniz called the effects “real minimal.” The control tower and air traffic were not affected.

The major impacts of the outage were that passengers from four or five arriving planes were led off their planes using mobile stairs because the jet bridges were not operational, he said. They were walked up from the tarmac to the terminal area.

During the outage, security screenings were performed manually and some electronic doors had to be manned by Transportation Security Administration officials, Moniz said.

After the power returned, Moniz estimated flight delays of no more than 15 minutes.