There was still widespread indignation in the local government, tourist industry, commercial sector and airlines yesterday over Saturday's six hour power failure at Palma airport, one of the most modern in Spain, which left some 40'000 tourists trapped in Majorca and a handful of flights bound for the UK did not finally take off until Sunday afternoon. The power cut, which disabled all essential services including security systems, will cost airport authority AENA millions in compensation and the chairman of the Spanish airport authority, Pedro Arguelles, said in Palma yesterday that until the full inquiry has been completed we are not in a position to confirm that it will not happen again. According to Arguelles the power failure was caused by a fault in the system which could cripple other Spanish airports therefore nationwide inspections are to be carried out. He ruled out the fault being caused intentionally or by negligence and in his opinion the fault was not inevitable, something had been done badly. Which is why AENA is prepared to compensate airlines for the disruption which left tens of thousands of tourists stuck in the dark with no services or adequate facilities and also grounded inbound planes at airports across Europe as arrivals were halted during the power cut. Although all the security systems were rendered useless, the AENA boss says that the Local and National Police boosted patrols in the terminal and that at no point was there a risk to security. AENA's main concern during the crisis was to keep the airport open with some 100'000 passengers and 700 flights expected during the day. Nevertheless, tour operators were advised to keep outbound clients in their hotels as long as possible to ease the pressure at the airport. Some tour operators took their clients to Palma hotels and provided hot meals, although in usual circumstances such costly action is only taken if delays are longer than 12 hours.
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