Flights have been suspended at Luton Airport due to a runway defect caused by Monday’s high temperatures.
A statement posted to the airport’s Twitter account shortly after 4.20pm reads: “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 least 14 incoming passenger flights have so far been diverted – mainly to nearby Stansted. They include Ryanair flights from Athens, Zante and Las Palmas, easyJet from Catania and Tui from Skiathos.
Gatwick was the diversion destination for an easyJet flight from Marrakech and Wizz Air arrivals from Budapest and Tirana.
The disruption is likely to impact operations until the end of the day, with cancellations almost inevitable.
An update from the airport at 5.30pm confirmed that services were still suspended “to allow for an essential runway repair after high surface temperatures caused a small section to lift”.
It reaffirmed that it hoped “to resume operations shortly”.
Meanwhile, passenger Alison Cybe tweeted video of hundreds of irate passengers crammed into Luton’s departure lounge as dozens of flights were prevented from departing.
It comes as the UK experiences an unprecedented July heatwave, with temperatures of between 35-43 Celsius forecast in some parts of the country during Monday and Tuesday.
Temperatures in Luton are currently at 36 degrees having peaked at 37, with 40 degrees forecast for Tuesday.
Scheduled departures from 3.50pm onwards have been given a later expected departure time on Luton Airport’s website, many of them delaying departure by two hours.
The 3.50pm easyJet flight to Heraklion, Crete scheduled for 5pm earliest and the 3.55pm Tui flight to Corfu now scheduled for 5.55pm earliest.
Holiday flights to Tenerife, Bodrum, Dubrovnik and Alicante are set to be affected, as are airlines including easyJet, Tui, Ryanair and Wizz Air.
The UK’s largest RAF flight base, Brize Norton, has also paused flight operations with reports that its “runway has melted”.
If air passengers’ flights are delayed by two hours or more, they may be entitled to compensation - although airlines can plead “extraordinary circumstances” outside of their control and avoid payment.
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