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Too hot for planes: Flights cancelled as extreme heat hits Phoenix

The Dangers of Extreme Heat

Dozens of flights were cancelled Tuesday in Phoenix as extreme heat swept over the region, prompting officials to deem it too hot for some planes to fly.

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Nearly 50 American Airlines regional airline flights scheduled to take off from Sky Harbor International Airport were cancelled after temperatures were forecast to top 120 degrees, according to The Arizona Republic and the National Weather Service.

In a statement obtained by the Republic, American Airlines said its American Eagle regional flights use the Bombardier CRJ aircraft. The plane has a maximum operating temperature of 118 degrees, as determined by the manufacturer, according to ABC News.

The National Weather Service forecast Tuesday’s high as 120 degrees for Phoenix.

Flights operated by American Airlines, but not using the Bombardier CRJ, were not affected by the heat. Airline officials said both larger Boeing and Airbus aircrafts had higher maximum operating temperatures – 126 degrees and 127 degrees, respectively.

The cancelled flights were scheduled to leave or land in Phoenix between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. local time, during the hottest part of the day, according to the Republic.

It's not the first time temperatures have led to cancelled flights at Sky Harbor. Airline officials grounded all flights from Phoenix for a short time on June 26, 1990, when temperatures reached 122 degrees, according to KPHO.