As mass air transport shrinks the world and requires airport complexes large enough to be regarded as self-contained cities, this book argues that airspace – that transitional area stretching from terminal to terminal, across time zones or between the check-in desk and the baggage carousel – must be regarded as a discrete destination on any map of our age.
At the hub of this exclusive enclave, which rises from the runway to an altitude of several thousand feet and which calmly accommodates the dangers of take-off and landing procedures, lies the airport – the concrete manifestation of airspace. The airport is a locale of anxiety and chance where, in order to expedite air traffic, authority is absolute, time is relative and liberties are always taken.
David Pascoe's wide-ranging book blends personal observation with detailed discussions of social history, air accidents, landscape, architecture, politics, aesthetics, literature and film to provide a striking account of the airport as a unique space and singular form of modernity, a place fundamental to any accurate sense of what we are now, and where we are going.
"eclectic and intelligent ... a thought-provoking analysis"—Financial Times
"the scope of Mr Pascoe’s rumination is impressive"—The Economist