UK Airport Closes due to Record Heat

Luton Airport Temporarily Closes as Record Heatwave Damages Runway

The UK’s second-busiest airport suspended all flights on Monday after the tarmac melted in boiling temperatures.

London Luton Airport

Luton Airport Tower / flickr

The runway at Luton Airport was shut down around 3 PM local time after temperatures in Luton reached 36 C (96.8 F), suspending flights for several hours and leaving many passengers standard on board their planes.

Luton is a popular London-area airport which is used by airlines including EasyJet and Wizz Air as well other smaller carriers due its location just 40 miles outside London with easy access from nearby towns such as Letchworth, Bedford, and Milton Keynes.

A spokesperson said “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 apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

The British government also warned residents and tourist to “stay indoors, do as little as possible” as the unbearable heat forced schools to close and hospitals to cancel appointments.

Airport officials announced via Twitter that “essential runway repair” was required “after high surface temperatures caused a small section to lift”, and full operations resumed just after 6 PM locally.

The UK’s airports have been experiencing a turbulent summer thus far, with thousands of flights canceled and reports of delayed or or lost bags as travel demand surges.

Last week the airport at Heathrow announced a cap of 100,000 passengers per day through September 11th, 2022 and have requested airlines halt ticket sales due to high-demand and staffing shortages.