Luton Airport in heatwave-affected England has been forced to take the extreme step of suspending flights for several hours after a section of its runway melted.
Luton, a hub for low-cost flights, suspended departures and arrivals after the heat caused a “small section” of runway to lift up, according to a tweet posted to the airport’s account early Tuesday morning Australian time.
The closure came as Britain braces for record-high temperatures on Tuesday, prompting the country’s first-ever extreme-heat warning.
More than a dozen flights due to land at Luton were diverted to other airports, while outbound flights were delayed or rescheduled.
Flights were resumed after repairs were made to the tarmac.
The uncharacteristically high temperatures also prompted flight suspensions at the Brize Norton military airbase in Oxfordshire due to concerns over the integrity of its runway.
Temperatures in parts of England hit 37 degrees on Monday, as Britain and much of Europe swelters through a severe heatwave.
British bureau of meteorology, the Met Office, issued its first-ever “red warning” for extreme heat on Tuesday.
Temperatures in excess of 40 degrees have been forecast for London on Tuesday local time, with a large part of Britain expecting high 30s.
It is the first time the Met Office has predicted 40 degrees in Britain, with the previous highest temperature nudging 38.7 degrees at Cambridge in 2019.
Britons were warned that the uncharacteristically hot weather could be here to stay.
“We hoped we wouldn’t get to this situation, but for the first time ever we are forecasting greater than 40 degrees in the UK,” Dr Nikos Christidis, said on Friday.
“In a recent study we found that the likelihood of extremely hot days in the UK has been increasing and will continue to do so during the course of the century, with the most extreme temperatures expected to be observed in the southeast of England.”
While air travellers are experiencing delays, other forms of transportation are also being affected.
Network Rail has warned customers to travel by train only if it’s truly necessary and has slowed down and cancelled services on some lines.
The company said the heat had caused signalling problems, while engineers in Scotland had been forced to install equipment to ensure the electrical lines responsible for powering trains did not sag in the heat.