Luton Airport runway ‘melts’ as UK hits record-breaking heatwave

Scorching weather forced Luton Airport shut down for two hours after extreme heat "melted the runway" yesterday (Monday, July 18).

The airport, a hub for low-cost flights, was closed temporarily when temperatures hit high of 35C in most areas in the UK.

The Met office issued a red extreme heat warning and urged people only to travel if necessary.

READ MORE: Met Office warns of scorching 43C temperatures on 'hottest day in UK history'

Aerial footage taken by BBC News shows engineers working to fix the runway after spotting a patch of asphalt and cement melt off on the tarmac.

Luton Airport suspended flights from arriving and departing in the afternoon.

They tweeted: "Following today's high temperatures, a surface defect was identified on the runway.

"Engineers were called immediately to site and repair works are currently in progress to resume operations as soon as possible.

"We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused."

At around 6pm yesterday, the airport reopened to both arriving and departing flights and is now fully operational.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience," they added.

Other transport systems were reported to have service disruption caused by the severe heatwave.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained that rail infrastructure in the UK is not built to withstand extreme temperatures – both very hot and extremely cold – and that although much of it is being upgraded, that process will take decades.

"Many of the hottest days ever recorded have come in the last 10 to 15 years, so we're going to see this more," he told Sky News.

This means that the problems we are experiencing during this heatwave are going to repeat themselves for decades to come, he added, saying that "millions of miles" of tarmac on the roads will have to be replaced too.


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