Flights briefly disrupted at UK’s Luton airport as heat damages runway

LONDON: Flights to and from Britain’s London Luton airport were temporarily disrupted on Monday (Jul 18) after soaring temperatures caused a defect in its runway, prompting airlines to delay or divert their planes.

The temperature rose above 37 degrees Celsius in parts of England on Monday, and was forecast to hit new record highs above 38.7 degrees Celsius on either Monday or Tuesday. Much of Europe has also been baking in a heatwave.

The airport said its runway had reopened at 1705 GMT, after earlier suspending flights at 1522 GMT.

The airport had said in a post on Twitter that flights were suspended to allow for “an essential runway repair after high surface temperatures caused a small section to lift”.

The airport, located around 35 miles north of central London, is used by airlines including EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair and TUI.

Some 14 flights due to land at Luton were diverted to other airports including Gatwick and Stansted on Monday afternoon, according to FlightRadar24 data.

At 1720 GMT, the airport’s live departure boards showed flights heading to holiday destinations including Greece and Spain were delayed, and arrivals from several European airports were more than 4 hours later than scheduled.