Arthur Hailey "Airport"

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Arthur Hailey "Airport"

Arthur Hailey "Airport"

 

Arthur Hailey

Arthur Hailey spent three years planning and writing Airport, one of his best works. He visited airports in North America and Europe, becoming particularly familiar with daily life at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, one of the world's busiest air traffic centres. He spoke to all types and levels of airport employee, watched them at their work, and finally understood the special problems and responsibilities that each of them faced.

The action of the book is centred round Lincoln International Airport in Chicago, during one of the worst snowstorms to hit the city in years. The man with the responsibility for keeping the airport open is the Airport General Manager, Mel Bakersfeld. Mel's problems are not restricted to the airport: his home life and relationship with his wife, Cindy, are also becoming extremely difficult. Fortunately he can depend on the support of some of the other people working with him, including the attractive Passenger Relations Agent, Tanya Livingston, and the strong and courageous Joe Patroni; Joe is responsible for moving a plane which is blocking the longest runway, a job that becomes more and more important as the story unfolds.

Back in Air Traffic Control, Mel's brother Keith is also facing problems. At the same time Vernon Demerest, a proud and unlikeable pilot, is doing his best to make life difficult for Mel, but is himself about to have an unpleasant surprise. People living in the Meadowood area of the city are planning a protest about the noise from the airport, encouraged by the lawyer Elliott Freemantle, who has reasons of his own for getting involved in the case. And in a cheap and dirty apartment on the south side of the city, a sad and lonely man is beginning to make plans for an event that he hopes will bring comfort to the wife he loves but can no longer support.

At the time the book appeared, air traffic was increasing sharply. For many people the world of aviation was still a strange and exciting one. People were discussing the subjects mentioned in the book: the problems with noise suffered by those living near airports; dangers connected with bombs; overcrowded airports and, in particular, plane crashes. In 1962, 93 people were killed in a plane crash in New York and 30 died in Kansas when their plane hit a house. Three years later 133 people died when a plane crashed in Tokyo Bay. Real-life emergencies such as these serve to heighten the tension of the story as the reader sympathizes with the ordinary characters caught up in events: the pilots and air hostesses, the airport managers and air traffic controllers, the ticket salespeople and maintenance workers. All have their personal and professional pressures and their own ways of dealing with them.

 

Text Analysis: Unique words: about 2,300. Total words: about 36,530
Hard words: abortion, agent, air hostess, air traffic, air traffic controller, airline, aviation, calendar, chairman, cigar, conscience, divorce, maintenance, parachute, policy, radar, runway, sigh, snowplough, stowaway, take-off, terminal, traffic, truck, unbearable

 

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