Flights in Phoenix cancelled over safety concerns as US temperatures soar

This post was originally published on this site
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/news/2017/06/18/TELEMMGLPICT000132297495_trans KkzUGe8q7_A35DWV6BPUcYCeVS7pgEPwpvy85C08PWY.jpeg

Airlines canceled flights in Phoenix and doctors urged people to be careful around concrete, playground equipment and vehicle interiors Monday as a punishing heat wave threatens to bring temperatures approaching 49°C to parts of the Southwestern US.

Arizona is seeing the most stifling temperatures, but the wrath of the heat wave is being felt across Nevada and California as well. Las Vegas was forecast to hit 47°C on Tuesday on the first day of summer, and excessive heat warnings cover almost all of California.

American Airlines cancelled nearly 40 flights on Tuesday in Phoenix operated by regional jets because of the heat. The airline also said it will allow Phoenix passengers flying during the peak heat until Wednesday to change flights without a fee.

American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein said the smaller regional jets flown by its partners can’t operate once the temperature hits 47.7°C. That maximum is set by Bombardier, the manufacturer.

Larger airliners made by Boeing and Airbus have higher maximum operating temperatures, but airlines still need to closely monitor the weight of the jets during the heat.

Mr Feinstein said the carrier began limiting sales on some flights to prevent the planes from exceeding maximum weight for safe takeoff in the hot conditions. Airlines can use other strategies for limiting weight during hot weather, such as not fueling completely, then making a refueling stop.

Despite the dangers, the weather may not be as bad as originally expected. The National Weather Service had been forecasting Tuesday highs at 49°c or higher in Phoenix for the past several days, a number not seen in the desert city in more than 20 years, but it now predicts 48°C.

“That’s deadly heat no matter how you slice it,” weather service meteorologist Chris Breckenridge said.