By Ivan Shimko/Newsweek

The heat wave sweeping across the Midwest and North-east of the United States this week could lead to flight delays and weight restrictions on luggage, an aviation expert has told Newsweek.

Also, passengers stuck in delayed planes are at increased risk of heat stroke as jet air conditioning systems struggle to cope in the hot weather.

Michael Anthony, an aviation expert based in Florida, told Newsweek: “Basically, hot air negatively affects aircraft in two very important ways, and then some unpleasant effects follow.”

He said planes find it harder to takeoff in very hot weather, so luggage and even passengers risk being bumped from flights to lighten loads. Air conditioning systems rely on full power from the jet engines and can malfunction on the tarmac during delays, sending cabin temperatures soaring, he warned.

Airports across the heat wave-stricken area have already reached sweltering temperatures and are expected to get even hotter over the weekend of June 22 and 23, with Washington, DC’s Ronald Reagan Airport predicted to reach 99 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday June 23.

An excessive heat warning has also been called for the northern state of New Hampshire, as temperatures are predicted to hit 105 F on June 20. A severe heat warning has also been issued for Boston, Massachusetts, where temperatures are expected to hit 94 F, but will feel like 100 F. A heat advisory was also issued for New York, where temperatures will also feel like 100 F in many parts of the state.

Airline difficulties due to extreme heat are already occurring around the world, as passengers on a Qatar Airlines flight in Greece last week experienced nosebleeds and fainting spells when the airline’s air conditioning system failed in 102 F-degree heat, and airlines were delayed for hours at Delhi airport on June 19 when temperatures hit 113 F, making the surface temperature of the tarmac too hot to lift off.

Anthony explained that the lift generated by takeoff comes from the density and pressure of the air. Hot air is thin, meaning it has less density and pressure making it much harder to lift.

The 29-year-old flight navigator added that jets also produce less forward thrust in hotter air, and without that initial power they need a long runway to generate enough power to lift off the ground.

#heatwave #flightdelays #aviation #expertwarning #passengerrisks #jetairconditioning #hotweather