Heat records have been broken at various measuring stations worldwide in recent months. According to the EU climate change service Copernicus, 2023 was globally the hottest summer since records began in 1940.
Climate change is making airplanes hotter. Several US airlines have set a maximum cabin temperature to protect passengers and crew from heat better.
Cooling stationary aircraft is increasingly crucial for passenger and crew safety. Recent incidents in Nevada and Malta highlight the dangers.
During taxiing to the runway in mid-July, the air conditioning failed on a plane departing from Las Vegas, causing several passengers to lose consciousness. The outside temperature was 44 degrees. At least five people required medical attention due to the incident.
Another incident occurred in July involving an Air Malta plane, where the air conditioning system malfunctioned. The cabin temperature continued to rise, with outside temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Three people suffered heat exhaustion and fainted due to the heat.
Two airlines lead the way
The topic is currently heatedly debated in the USA. Currently, there is no legal regulation in the country specifying when airlines should restrict guest's boarding. However, some airlines have established cabin temperature limits. American Airlines, for instance, will not allow passengers to board its planes if the cabin temperature exceeds 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit), while JetBlue has set this threshold at 29 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit). Delta, United, and Southwest still need temperature caps.
The US Department of Transportation mandates that airlines maintain a comfortable cabin temperature during extended tarmac delays.