Planes, People, Triumphs, and Disasters at John F. Kennedy InternationalBook - 1994
Kaplan spoke with many of the key players within Kennedy's city of 44,000 around-the-clock workers, including administrators, technicians, crime investigators, pilots and skycaps. He interviewed people who hold such bizarre posts as Kennedy's notorious "Birdman" who patrols the runways for "laughing seagulls"; the leader of the "Beagle Brigade" who uses beagles to track the illegal entry of unwanted materials; and one of the airport's medical team who must contend with airport "mules," men and women who smuggle drugs by ingesting large quantities of drug packets into their bodies.
The Airport assesses the crucial role that deregulation has played in shaping today's airline industry, producing lower fares that allow more people to fly, but in a manner that feels "progressively more inconvenient." Kaplan suggests that deregulation may have contributed to dangerous declines in maintenance and safety standards. In addition, he examines all the other elements affecting airline safety--traffic control, weather, runway maintenance, radar and other sensing equipment, pilot and flight attendant training and disaster crews.
In The Airport, James Kaplan presents a panoramic, intimately detailed and highly personal view of the world of flying, and of a fabled airport's inner life, which even the most seasoned travelers never get to see.