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London Luton Airport suspended flights after its runway buckled due to the UK heat

London Luton Airport suspended flights after its runway buckled due to the UK heat


An extreme heatwave is affecting travel in the UK

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An exterior view of the entrance to the London Luton Airport...
Temperatures are predicted to reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The United Kingdom is currently experiencing an extreme heatwave, and some of its infrastructure hasn’t been able to cope. London Luton Airport, a hub for low-cost flights, had to suspend departures and arrivals on Monday after the heat caused a “small section” of runway to lift up, according to a tweet posted to the airport’s account. The BBC reports that the shutdown, which was cleared up by 6:05PM British Summer Time, meant that at least a few flights had to be diverted or canceled.

Luton isn’t the only airport experiencing heat-related issues. According to CNBC, the Royal Air Force couldn’t use its Brize Norton station in Oxfordshire thanks to the heat. The UK’s Met Office predicted that temperatures in London would reach 39 degrees Celsius, or around 102 Fahrenheit, on Monday, and it expects they’ll be a degree hotter on Tuesday.

Other forms of transportation are being affected as well. Network Rail has been warning the country’s residents to only travel by train if it’s truly necessary and has slowed down and canceled service for some lines. The company tweeted that engineers in Scotland had to install equipment to make sure that the electrical lines responsible for powering trains didn’t sag in the heat and also said that a signaling issue in Brockenhurst was “a direct result of the hot temperatures.”

Unfortunately, these types of incidents are likely to continue. Runways in Brize Norton melted last year as well, and experts say that the UK will have to adapt for a future where this kind of heatwave is far more common than it is now. Cities and countries all over the world have been experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand in recent years, with more people than usual dying of heat-related causes, super-charged storms putting more people in danger, and infrastructure like roads and runways buckling under the heat.

Correction July 18th, 5:45PM ET: A previous version of this article stated that London Luton Airport is located in London. It is actually located in Luton. We regret the error.

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