I have been watching this mini-series: X-RAY: MEGA AIRPORT.

In part 3 of the series, they talked about inability of a fire to spread in a cold environment as a reason that Airports are cold. An additional explanation could be that diseases/germs might be also slow in cold environments.

Does anybody know more/better if there are any more reasons for airports to be so cold all the time?

Update - I was at Al Hamad Airport Doha, the outside temperature was in the 40's according to my Android phone as well as the stats, while inside the airport it was a chilly 20/21 degrees.

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    I don't think anyone deliberately keeps airports cold. I've been in plenty of VERY warm ones, including some without walls. I think some are cold simply because it's cold outside and doors to the outside are consistently open in an airport. Nov 24 '16 at 17:07
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    I assume they keep it cold because it is easier to add cloth layers instead of removing layers.
    – Max
    Nov 24 '16 at 17:07
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    Lots of factors go into setting indoor air temperatures, but 20/21 degrees (or 68-70 degrees if you speak fahrenheit) is not particularly cold, especially for a building that will have lots of people rushing to/from flights wearing somewhat heavier clothes (as people tend to dress for cooler temperatures on the plane). It may be quite hot outside, but that's largely irrelevant (except to their utility bill); people would be extremely unhappy to the point of avoiding the airport altogether if it were in the 40s inside the airport. Nov 24 '16 at 18:05
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    If it were 35+ degrees inside the Doha airport, I'd go pretty far out of my way to avoid that airport. It's a matter of personal preference to be sure, but typical "western" preferences for indoor air temperature are usually to keep it under 28 degrees or so and most large modern international airports follow that convention. Keep in mind that many passengers at an airport like Doha won't ever set foot outside; they're simply transit passengers who may be coming from and going to places with entirely different climates. The airport is a city in and of itself that designs its own weather. Nov 24 '16 at 18:48
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    I asked my father (who has about 25 years of experience in fires and explosions in chemical factories) and he has this to add: Fire does not spread slower in cooler environment but solvents and such vaporize slower which might matter.
    – chx
    Nov 24 '16 at 19:19

Not all airports are "so cold all the time". Some do not have air conditioning and may be even hotter than high external temperatures (due to press of people, and equipment) and some are practically outside anyway (eg Cabinda before the new terminal was built).

20/21 °C is roughly the temperature inside the cabin of an aircraft, during daytime, in the air. Most people seem to find that comfortable and dress accordingly. There is no reason why they should suddenly feel uncomfortable at that temperature just because about to board, in transit or having just arrived.

Inability of fire to spread at 20/21 °C as a 'reason' is just 'journalism'. The fire risk is probably greater (if negligibly so) the colder the temperature inside than out, since the compressors have to work harder.

Al Hamad Airport Doha is merely an example of how cold 20/21 °C may feel when coming from 40 °C. I very much doubt you saw any of the people that spend a long time in the airport (eg those who work there, but also some transit passengers) shivering. I do though recall that from about 20/21 °C to ~40 °C felt like entering a furnace and the transition had much more impact than a steady 46 °C and an outside temperature well below 20/21 °C.

  • Want hot? Try Tocumen Airport sometime.
    – Gayot Fow
    Nov 25 '16 at 8:38
  • I would upvote this but I’m concerned by the very … insert adjective here use of the word journalism in the middle — even if you have inverted commas.
    – Jan
    Nov 26 '16 at 0:29
  • Pseudoscience? a myth?
    – Jan
    Nov 26 '16 at 0:34
  • @pnuts actually even 21 degrees inside the aircraft was chilling for me. Even though I had a coat, it was still chilling.
    – shirish
    Dec 19 '16 at 17:49

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