How airline workers deal with the heat in Phoenix Sky Harbor
PHOENIX – Most of Arizona has been on an excessive heat warning for more than a week now, with record to record temperatures seen regularly.
Many residents try to avoid the heat, but there are jobs in the valley where people must be exposed to the elements.
This includes the men who work under the wing at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
“It’s already hot at the start, then we add our planes and our maintenance equipment to it,” said John Daley, general manager of Sky Harbor hub operations for American Airlines.
Daley says the number one priority is making sure their employees are safe when temperatures soar.
“We have several pieces of equipment that work throughout the maintenance of the aircraft, which gives off a lot of heat,” Daley explained. “They’re practicing, the concrete ramp also retains a lot of heat. And then the jet engines, packs and APUs give off a lot of heat.”
Since early May, the airline has had a trolley that circulates, offering water, Gatorade and frozen popsicles to keep employees cool. They also have cooling stations in each hall.
“We’ve got the big fans of evaporative fingerboard, and then that blows everyone around here,” Daley said.
While keeping employees cool under the wing, the airline ensures that planes also stay cool for their passengers.
“We have these hoses that go right into the plane and filter through the cabin to cool the cabin while it’s on the ground for maintenance,” Daley said. “We also pump a percentage of the air into the gangway to keep it cool during boarding time… we go so far as to use thermometers to check cabin temperatures.”
Passengers are also advised to close the blinds during the flight to keep temperatures low.
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