Heat waves generated by global warming could ground nearly a third of flights during the hottest days, forcing carriers to jettison cargo in order to take off, according to a study in this month’s Climatic Change. Cargo stalwarts, such as the 777-300, are expected to experience the greatest impact, due to their size. High-volume freight hubs located in hot climates, like Dubai, could see delays for up to 30 percent of the airport’s departures.
Extreme heat last month in Phoenix, in the dry southwest region of the United States, led to the cancellation of nearly 50 flights over two days in June, providing an early indicator of global warming’s impact on the aviation industry. As temperatures approached 120°F, American Airlines was forced to ground dozens of planes at Sky Harbor International Airport.
Now, researchers associated with the Northeast Climate Science Center and the Logistics Management Institute and are saying that this could be a common occurrence in a matter of decades.