It's Too Hot For Some Planes To Fly In Phoenix

Elias Hubbard
June 24, 2017

American Airlines said that 43 flights scheduled to leave from Phoenix's Sky Harbour Airport were cancelled on Tuesday (20 June) as the heat outside was higher than the plane's maximum operating temperature.

As temperatures climbed into the triple digits across the region, major airlines were forced to delay or cancel flights out of Las Vegas and Phoenix airports, citing difficulty in operating aircraft in extreme heat. Roughly 40 flights in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor airport were canceled Tuesday, according to the airport.

American Airlines is allowing passengers to rebook their flights for free if they are arriving or departing Phoenix between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m.

For bigger jets, the threshold is higher.

Smaller aircraft, such as those made by Bombardier, are more susceptible to heat, which makes air less dense and reduces lift, than larger, more powerful aircraft.

In an email to customers, the airline said that the extreme heat on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday may affect flights and recommended that customers check the status of flights, notably those during the hottest part of the day - from 3pm to 6pm local time - before leaving for the airport. The carrier says that, for example, Airbus aircraft have a maximum operating temperature of 127 degrees and that for Boeing, it is 126 degrees.

"This typically happens in June where you get a subtropical high (pressure system) that ends up shifting northward", said meteorologist Bianca Hernandez of the National Weather Service office in Phoenix.

The city of Phoenix advised residents to take precautions, such as limiting outdoor activity to before sunrise or after sunset, staying hydrated and wearing light-colored clothing.

The extreme weather extends over much of the Southwest, including parts of California and Nevada, which are also under excessive heat warnings.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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