Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Airport By Arthur Hailey (published in 1968) - the handling of an airport during an emergency

Arthur Hailey was born in Lutton, Bedford-shire, England and served in the royal air force during world war II. He emigrated to Canada and got his first break through as a writer through his book 'Flight to Danger'. After this he never looked back with his novels like Wheels, Airport, Hotel and Final Diagnosis becoming best sellers. He moved to the Bahamas to continue his writing career until his death on November, 2004.
Airport is one of the best selling novels of Arthur Hailey and has gone on to become a well known motion picture of the same name. It portrays the working of a fictional airport, Lincoln international in Chicago. The main protagonist include Mel Bakersfield who is the general manager of Lincoln International Airport who is working hard to keep the airport in working condition during the worst snow storms of the decade. The Chicago airport is blanketed with snow which had to be cleared at all times to keep air traffic under control. But things get worse with a plane careening of the adjacent runway and getting stuck on the crucial runway three zero. So the runway two five is used frequently and it troubles the Meneawood community which ultimately pickets the airport to stop the flights.

Meanwhile in the air the Golden Argosy, Trans America Flight two is piloted by Vernon Demerest who is the brother in law of Mel Bakersfield. Both have a very tenuous relationship and are at the throats of each other. D.O Guerrero, a bankrupt businessman boards the flight with a bomb to blow himself up to enable his wife to collect the insurance benefits. Vernon Demerest is having an affair with the in flight stewardess Gwen who is pregnant with his child, but does not yet know about it. Aboard this flight is Ada Quonset, a frequent stowaway who sneaks into the flight to visit her daughter in New York. Amidst all this action the drama unfolds with Vernon trying to take away the bomb from D.O Guerrero,who inadvertently detonates it blowing a big hole in the plane. Now Demerest has the unenviable task of landing the Golden Argosy in Lincoln international Airport with out any delay.
At the airport Mel Bakersfield need to get the stuck plane off the run way to clear the path for the Golden Argosy. Mel's wife Cindy is a social climber and socialite who is unhappy with her husband because he does not attend many functions in her social calender. She warns him of ending their marriage if he fails to attend this particular event tonight. Amidst all this chaos Mel also discovers the soft corner he has for Tonya Livingston, the passenger relations executive.
The other characters involve Keith Bakersfield who is in charge of the radar control who has his own demons to slay. He is tormented by a mid air collision and feels guilty for the fateful accident and is contemplating suicide. But this sudden turn of events brings everybody together to save the passengers trapped in the plane. In the end a high octane finish happens with Joe Patroni the chief mechanic managing to clear the runway to enable the smooth landing and Vernon Demerest and Harry, his copilot make the unthinkable happen.
If you want to have a high adrenaline rush in your veins you can pick up Arthur Hailey's Airport. It will sure liven up your mundane days and you will never look at the airplane surging up overhead without wondering at the men and women who make it all happen.

Airport By Arthur Hailey (published in 1977) - the handling of an airport during an emergency

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