Airports' Electrical System Undergoes Review

January 31, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Kent County Aeronautics Board approved a contract Wednesday for an analysis of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport’s electrical power system in the wake of the 14-hour power outage that occurred between Dec. 23 and 24.

Century A&E, a local engineering and architectural consulting firm, was awarded the $38,270 contract. The company will review the entire system, identify other systems that could be added to the existing emergency power grid, and determine what additional capacity would be required to do that, said Facilities Director Thomas Ecklund. During the power outage, for instance, the sliding doors to the terminal didn’t function, he said, and several customer service amenities could not be provided. 

Century will provide detailed cost estimates and a potential schedule for implementation. Ecklund said Century’s report will be available in April. 

“It will be a very thorough, detailed review,” Ecklund told the board.

The airport’s emergency electrical back-up systems responded to the outage as they were designed to do, Ecklund said, but they’re typically only useful for a two- to three-hour duration, not for a prolonged power outage.  

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