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Flights Suspended And Planes Unable To Land As 'Runways Melt' At UK Airports

Daisy Phillipson

Published 
| Last updated 

Flights Suspended And Planes Unable To Land As 'Runways Melt' At UK Airports

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Amid the ongoing heatwave which continues to cause disruption across the UK, flights have been suspended at various sites as the hot weather has caused runways to melt.

Luton Airport had to halt all flights today (18 June) after temperatures reaching 36C led to melting tarmac on its tracks.

The international airport, which is used by various airlines including EasyJet, Ryanair and TUI, shared a statement on Twitter apologising for the inconvenience caused.

It reads: "Following today's high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway.

"Engineers were called immediately to the site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused."

Luton isn't the only site to be feeling the heat, as a military official claimed that a Royal Air Force base's runway also melted.

The source told Sky News that the RAF's Brize Norton site in Oxfordshire had to divert its flights today (18 June) due to the issue, while a second source said contingency plans have been put in place to ensure military operations can continue.

Sharing the news on Twitter, Deborah Haynes, security and defence editor at Sky News, wrote: The @RoyalAirForce has halted flights in and out of its largest air base in the UK because the 'runway has melted' in the hot weather, according to a military source.  

"The decision to shut the runway at RAF Brize Norton was taken on Monday morning,@SkyNews understands.

"Plans have been implemented to ensure there’s no impact on operations, a 2nd RAF source said.

"The 2nd source confirmed the runway had been impacted by the heat but didn’t say it had physically melted."

She finished by highlighting how runways can be deemed unsafe when the tarmac becomes sticky in the hot weather.

The Ministry of Defence has since shared a statement on behalf of the RAF in relation to the flights at Brize Norton.

It reads: "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."

Beyond the military, a number of Brits have documented their own experiences of melting tarmac during the country's heatwave.

Taking to TikTok, an Australian living in the UK said: “This is how true our heatwave is”, while turning the camera to the ground. 

She then picks up pieces of what appears to be melted tarmac, adding: “Our tar - because I’ve been picking it, you see - has melted on the road.”

Another video shared by user @travelgal39, captioned ‘melting roads’, shows a mum walking on a road that’s so hot, her shoes stick to the tarmac. 

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It comes after the Met Office's red heat warning for England between Monday (18 July) and Tuesday (19 July), with large parts of the country hitting the high 30s.

Last week, Penny Endersby, Met Office chief executive, said: "The extreme heat that we're forecasting right now is absolutely unprecedented.

"Please treat the warnings we are putting out as seriously as you would a red or amber warning from us for wind or snow and follow the advice.

"Stay out of the sun, keep your home cool, think about adjusting your plans for the warning period."

Topics: Army, UK News, Weather, Travel

Daisy Phillipson
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