Two airports in the UK, including its largest air force base, were forced to suspend flights after an extreme rise in temperature resulted in issues with their runways.
The two airports include London’s Luton airport and RAF base Brize Norton, which were both forced to suspend flights after the recent heat wave damaged their runways.
The suspensions came as Europe experienced a gruesome heatwave, which caused Britain to live through its hottest day of the year on Monday, when the temperature topped 38C.
The temperature in the UK on Tuesday was recorded to be almost 40C, which is the hottest temperature ever to be recorded. While Wales recorded its hottest ever air temperature on Monday, peaking at 37.1C at Hawarden
Luton airport, located north of London, issued a statement on Monday afternoon that flights were suspended due to a “defect” on the runway. “Following today’s high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway,” the airport posted on Twitter.” Engineers were called immediately to the site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible.” and added, “We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
The airport told reporters that engineers have been called to repair the defect, hoping for the operations to resume shortly. Aerial footage broadcasted through the BBC news portal showed engineers working on a large rectangular section of the runway which seems to be stripped off the top tarmac layer.
Luton airport is among the top five busiest airports in the UK and is considered the primary base for the budget airline Easyjet. By 6 pm local time the airport was reported to be open for outbound flights, which later changed and is now allowing inbound flights to be resumed.
Earlier on Monday, it was reported that Royal Air Force (RAF) base Brize Norton in Oxfordshire had also suspended some of its in and out flights after safety hazards appeared on the runway because of the heat, with some news portals reporting the runway had “melted”.
The RAF did not provide an elaborate explanation on the situation of the air base but said the aircraft was shifted to alternative bases and operations other than the closure of Brize Norton were not impacted.
Through the UK’s Ministry of Defence, RAF made a statement, “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 heat has also impacted transportation through rail, and the authorities urge travellers not to use it unless it is necessary. On top of that, London’s Underground network is imposing temporary speed restrictions on its trains while mass cancellations devastate the rail networks in the UK.