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Detroit — Multiple flights headed to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were canceled Sunday at Detroit Metropolitan Airport as airport authorities in Atlanta dealt with a sudden power outage, expected to be restored by midnight, during one of the busiest travel times of the year.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport spokeswoman Erica Donerson said Sunday flights operated by Delta, Southwest and Spirit airlines were affected by the outage.

“While this situation is being resolved, we encourage travelers to check their flight status by contacting their airline," Donerson said.

Georgia Power said that it expected power to be restored at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport by midnight.

In a news release Sunday evening, the utility said the “the issue may have involved a fire which caused extensive damage in a Georgia Power underground electrical facility.” The cause of the fire was not known, the statement said, but it affected underground facilities and substations serving the airport.

Georgia Power spokeswoman Holly Crawford had said earlier that only the airport had been affected by the outage.

All incoming and outgoing flights at the airport have been halted since early Sunday afternoon.

Passengers were left in the dark at the Atlanta airport when the lights suddenly went out in the early afternoon. Airport spokesman Reese McCranie said all airport operations were affected, and outgoing flights were halted.

The Federal Aviation Administration implemented a “ground stop” for flights headed to the airport. That means flights heading to Atlanta were held on the ground at their departure airport.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said the utility was working to find out the cause and restore electricity. He could not estimate when the power might be restored.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service said on Twitter that due to the power outage, international flights were being diverted to other airports.

The Hartsfield-Jackson airport, serving 104 million passengers a year, is the world’s busiest, a distinction it has held since 1998.

Detroit News Staff Writer Jennifer Chambers contributed to this report.

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