A popular UK airport suspended all of its flights for nearly three hours today after the tarmac melted in boiling temperatures.
Luton Airport, which has one runway, is used by airlines including EasyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair and TUI as temperatures in Luton have reached 36C today.
The last flight believed to have taken off before the airport suspended departures was at 3.07pm. A spokesperson announced that all flights outbound were suspended and any flights scheduled to arrive at Luton airport were being diverted.
Nearly three hours later, an airport spokesperson confirmed that flights leaving the airport resumed at 5.40pm. However, inbound flights are still suspended or diverted from Luton Airport.
One furious passenger tweeted: “How long will this take?!?!?”
Another wrote: “They have just closed the runway at Luton airport for at least an hour. We were just about to be pushed back and they stopped everything. Inbound flights are being diverted.”
A spokesperson for Luton Airport said at 6pm today: “The runaway reopened to departing flights at 17.40. Arrivals remain suspended until further notice. We apologise for the inconvenience.”
A spokesperson said earlier today: “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 apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
The RAF has also halted flights in and out of its largest air base in the UK, Brize Norton, because the “runway has melted”, according to reports.
It comes as parts of the country could see Death Valley highs of 42C today as Brits are warned to “stay indoors, do as little as possible” and avoid public transport as the heatwave forces hospitals to cancel appointments and some schools close.
The rise in temperatures has forced the UK Health Security Agency to issue a level 4 heat-health alert alongside the Met Office red warning running from Monday to Wednesday and the chief executive of the College of Paramedics has warned that the “ferocious heat” could result in people dying.
Earlier today, the highest temperature on record in Wales has now risen to 37.1C in Hawarden, Flintshire, provisional Met Office figures show.
By 3pmt today, the highest recorded temperature was 37.5C (99.5F) at Kew Gardens in west London, according to the Met Office.
Cavendish in Suffolk had reached 37.4C (99.3F), Santon Downham, also in Suffolk, was 37.2C (98.9F) and Wisley, Surrey, saw temperatures of 37.2C (98.9F).
Water companies have warned urgent action is needed to conserve supplies in parts of the UK.
Doctors have warned of a danger to life or potential serious illness from the blistering temperatures.
Recommended precautions include avoiding physical exercise, keeping to the shade and maintaining ventilation, drinking plenty of water and using in-date sun cream.
People have been warned against using rivers and lakes to cool off due to the dangers of swimming in open water