The largest tenant at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is looking to recoup some of the millions of dollars in lost revenue in the wake of Sunday’s power outage that stranded tens of thousands of people at the airport and impacted thousands more worldwide.
On Wednesday, Delta Air Lines confirmed that it will be speaking with the airport officials and Georgia Power about the hours-long power outage, which was caused by an underground fire.
So does Delta have a case?
“Yes, they do,” said Atlanta attorney Simon Bloom, founding partner of Bloom Sugarman and an who focuses his practice on high-stakes civil litigation. "Delta has an extensively negotiated lease with the city, and one of those provisions is that the city facilitates in providing utility services.
"But those provisions also release the city from any damages that arise from failures or interruptions of utility services. That is a big, big deal in terms of liability, but only if those failures were not the result of the city’s neglect."
Bloom said not enough information has been released about the exact cause of the fire to determine who's liable.
"Delta has a direct relationship with Georgia Power, and I'm almost certain there are provisions in their contracts that deal with service interruption," Bloom said.
Delta CEO Ed Bastion said the airline has lost between $25 million to $30 million.
"Bastion's statement was a major first step in setting the table for this expectation," Bloom said. "From an economic development standpoint, I would hate to see the three biggest players in Atlanta -- Delta, Georgia Power and the city government -- get into a fight with each other."
Roosevelt Council, Jr., airport general manager, issued an apology for the power outage on Wednesday. When asked about Delta’s desire for compensation, he said, "We heard what Delta had to say. We might address it but we will prepare a statement to respond to that."