Global Warming Will Lead to More Air Travel Disruptions, Study Finds

Jul 13, 2017

Your future travel plans will most likely be affected by rising temperatures and more frequent heat waves, according to a new study released on Thursday.

According to a study published in the journal Climate Change, as cited by Reuters, rising temperatures and heat waves due to global warming may ground up to a third of planes across the world in the coming decades. New York's LaGuardia and Dubai International Airport will be some of the airports affected the most, namely due to short runways and scorching heat, respectively.

The heat may cause airlines to cut the number of passengers on an aircraft, or limit the amount of cargo or fuel in order to take off safely. Why? The warmer the air, the harder it is for the airplane to create lift, according to the researchers.

While average worldwide temperatures may climb 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 Celsius) by 2100, according to researchers, the annual maximum daily temperatures at airports could increase by 7 to 14 degrees by 2080. The study's authors predict that this rise in temperature will require between 10% and 30% of fully loaded planes to shed some weight in order to take off.

While this is bad news for your travel plans, it could also greatly impact the airline business: Researchers determined the heat could lead to thinner profit margins, as airlines won't be able to sell as many seats, among other things. What's more, the delays and cancellations could also impact other sectors of the economy.

The new research comes after dozens of flights were canceled in Phoenix in June, as the "extreme heat" made it too hot for planes to fly.

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