Flights stopped after runway melts
The UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) has suspended flights at some of its bases and rerouted aircraft due to extremely hot weather, the Ministry of Defence said on Monday.
“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," the ministry wrote on Twitter, referring to flights at the Brize Norton airbase in Oxfordshire south east England.
Sky News reported that flights in and out of the base have been halted because the "runway has melted" in the scorching heat.
According to the outlet, another UK airfield had already experienced similar issues earlier this month, with the Cranwell airbase suspending flights after the situation at the flight line — the area where aircraft are serviced — became too dangerous. "Our aircraft flight line has melted in the heat, so all flying at Cranwell has been stopped," a Sky News source confirmed.
An RAF spokesperson said that the main aircraft service area at the base was not available for routine use as “a precautionary measure.” "Flying training is not affected and will continue by using alternative service areas," the representative added at the time.
The RAF rerouted its planes as the country braced for record temperatures that are expected to hit 40C. In response to the heatwave, the UK’s Met Office raised its Heat Health Alert level to red on Friday, saying that this development constitutes a national emergency.
London Luton Airport said on Monday that it had also suspended flights after detecting a surface defect on the runway following high temperatures.
Amidst the extreme weather, the Met Office advised people to close their curtains in rooms facing the sun, to drink plenty of fluids, and to keep an eye on younger children and older family members, as well as those with underlying health conditions, as most British homes lack air conditioning equipment.