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‘Get this fixed:' Orlando airport official demands answers after tram malfunctions

System goes down for 3rd time in 5 days

ORLANDO, Fla. – For the third time in five days, a tram stopped functioning Monday at Orlando International Airport.

There were no passengers aboard the tram, which went out of service after it became stuck while going between Airside 3 and the main terminal, OIA said.

OIA tweeted that shuttle service to and from Gates 1-59 had been "interrupted."

The outage, which lasted about an hour, affected American, United and Spirit airlines passengers, OIA said.

The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority apologized for the latest incident, which it blamed on mechanical issues. Officials said Monday's incident was the fourth such outage.

"GOAA continues to work with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and its contractors, who are responsible for the installation and operation of the tram system, to resolve ongoing issues," OIA said in a statement.

The airport is in the midst of a $3 billion construction project and an airport representative said there will be some "bumps in the road" while work is being done, but the exact cause of the outage is not known.

GOAA board chairman Frank Kruppenbacher said he personally called Mitsubishi and said "they better get everybody here and their uncle to get this fixed or rectified."

He asked his staff to draft a letter to Mitsubishi asking that the company reimburse customers and airlines who have suffered losses because of the problems.

Kruppenbacher told News 6 that the problems stem from safety sensors being triggered for false alarms.

"Today a cable hit one of the sensors, and if a sensor goes off, the whole train shuts down," he said. "While I appreciate safety, they have to fix them from going off in a false-type mode."

A 40-minute outage on Sunday affected hundreds of passengers, dozens of whom missed their flights.

"There were 500 people there waiting to get onto a bus to get to the other terminal. It was crazy," said Terri Stovall, who was heading home to Texas after a weekend trip to Orlando with her husband.

The couple had just gotten through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint when they saw a packed crowd of people near the trams.

"The crowd was getting angry. It was just nuts," Stovall said.

The tram was out of service last Wednesday for three hours, affecting up to 7,000 passengers. 

Since then, airport officials met and made changes, increasing the volume on the intercom so travelers could hear updates more clearly. They also opened the walkway more quickly.

The tram broke down Wednesday because of a dead battery on a door sensor. An airport representative said it's unclear why the tram broke down again on Sunday.

Orlando is the nation's most visited city, with 66 million visitors last year.

Kruppenbacher said he is beyond frustrated with the problems.

"It causes me to boil over with anger because we've had such a spectacular reputation," he said.

About 41 million passengers passed through the airport last year.

Watch News 6 and stay with ClickOrlando.com for more on this story.

 


About the Authors:

Daniel Dahm

Daniel started with WKMG-TV in 2000 and became the digital content manager in 2009. When he's not working on ClickOrlando.com, Daniel likes to head to the beach or find a sporting event nearby.

Erik von Ancken

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.

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