Airport Authority under fire after flights delayed and passengers inconvenienced The Airport Authority was under fire last night after a power cut at Chek Lap Kok delayed two flights, trapped at least three people in lifts, plunged half of the passenger terminal into darkness and left shopkeepers and passengers sweltering without air-conditioning for almost two hours. The tripping of five high-voltage switches shortly after 7pm knocked out lighting, baggage handling systems and air-conditioning in the southern part of the building. With check-in counters and aircraft bridges out of action in that area, all services had to be squeezed into the northern section. Two flights, including a Cathay Pacific flight to Taipei, were delayed, with 395 passengers affected. Firefighters rescued three people trapped inside lifts. CLP Power staff found no problems and could not determine what made the switches trip. Power was restored about 8.45pm. Civil Aviation Department spokeswoman, Grace Ng, said the control tower had not been affected by the outage. 'Traffic operation was smooth. Taking off and landing of all aircraft remained normal.' Airport management director Howard Eng said the authority was still investigating the cause of the power failure. He apologised to all the passengers affected by the interruption and pledged the authority would review the incident. Asked why the back-up power system failed to turn on after the power outage, Mr Eng said it activates automatically only if the whole terminal is affected. Retired director-general of civil aviation, Peter Lok Kung-nam said it should not have happened. 'It shouldn't be. The system could have been set in another way so that the power supplies could have resumed quickly,' he said. Democrat legislator Lee Wah-ming said he was worried the reputation of the airport might be jeopardised. 'The airport has won so many awards. A power outage of nearly two hours is intolerable,' he said, adding that the party would meet the authority to discuss the incident. It was not the first time the airport has been interrupted by power failures. Last month, a sudden dip in voltage, probably triggered by lightning, briefly knocked out the baggage-handling system and walkways for 10 minutes.