Air traffic

UK: Air traffic briefly suspended at Luton Airport as hot weather ‘melted’ runway

Luton Airport in London, Britain had to briefly suspend operations on Monday July 18 after a runway “fault” was spotted. Airport officials said the extreme heat caused damage to the runway. Military and civilian air operations were halted.

Britain, France and some other European countries are currently in the grip of a fierce heat wave, facing record temperatures.

Particularly in the UK, the situation is alarming, with the Met Office issuing a red extreme heat warning across much of England, with temperatures expected to hit 41C on Tuesday (July 19).

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In Britain, meteorologists have warned residents of extreme heat. Authorities noted that the country was unprepared for the life-threatening weather.

Meanwhile, the brief suspension of operations at Luton Airport was quite alarming. Reports have mentioned that the airport is used by airlines such as EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair and TUI.

FlightRadar24 data showed around 14 flights were diverted to other airports, including Gatwick and Stansted. They were to land at Luton.

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As quoted by The Guardian, passengers on an inbound easyJet flight have been told they are being diverted due to “melting pieces of tarmac” on the runway.

Along with a message of apology, the airport tweeted: “Following today’s high temperatures, a surface defect has been identified on the runway.”

Later, the runway was reopened to departing and arriving flights after repairs.

The report on “melting pieces of tarmac” sounded weird. Is it really possible that time will melt the materials used to make the airport runways?

The Guardian report quoted a National Highways spokesperson as saying asphalt on secondary roads could be melting. The main strategic roads have been designed to withstand temperatures above 60°C, and no problems have been reported.

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