High temperatures caused section of UK airport’s runway ‘to lift’

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(CNN) — One of the UK’s largest airports has suspended flights amid reports of “melting” runways, as temperatures soared up to 37 degrees Celsius (about 99 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country.

London Luton Airport announced via Twitter that it was shutting down operations on Monday because “a surface defect was identified on the runway” following high temperatures.

“Engineers were called immediately to site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible,” the airport said.

The announcement came hours after the Royal Air Force (RAF) paused all flights to and from Brize Norton, its biggest air base, in Oxfordshire after a report from Sky News suggested that the runway had “melted.”

“During this period of extreme temperature flight safety remains the RAF’s top priority, so aircraft are using alternative airfields in line with a long-established plan. This means there is no impact on RAF operations,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, both Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL) have advised passengers against travel on Monday and Tuesday, unless for “essential journeys,” due to the hot weather. Train speed restrictions have also been introduced to protect railway tracks.

On Friday, the UK’s Met Office issued its first ever “red” warning for extreme heat for Monday and Tuesday, with temperatures predicted to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts of the country.

The Luton Airport shutdown is the latest incident in a turbulent summer for UK travel that’s seen thousands of flights canceled, huge security queues and countless reports of delayed or lost baggage.

Last week, Heathrow Airport announced a 100,000 a day passenger cap until September 11 and asked airlines to stop selling tickets for travel this summer as it struggles to deal with high demand and staffing shortages.

Top image: Empty check-in desks at London Luton Airport. (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)

July 19, 2022 at 02:18AM

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