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City in The Sky

You will never look at your time aloft in the same way again after this BBC/OU co-production which explores the world of aviation...

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Multiple aeroplanes taking off and entering the sky Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: The BBC

At any one time, there are a million people airborne somewhere in the world.  It’s a city in the sky.  A city that straddles not just countries but continents and it’s made up of the 100,000 flights that criss-cross the world daily.

So what does it take to run a ‘city’ at 30,000 feet?  In this new series, Science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Mathematician Dr Hannah Fry set off around the world to uncover the invisible global networks and complex logistics that make it all possible and discover the extraordinary engineering and technology that keeps this city aloft.

This city is set to double in size in the next two decades, and keeping it airborne is testing our ingenuity to its absolute limits.

At some of the biggest, busiest, coldest and most remote airports in the world, they meet the people who keep it all running, uncovering a fascinating world that has transformed the way we live in the 21st century. 

City in The Sky was first broadcast on BBC Two on Sunday 5th June 2016. Full broadcast details, and links to watch online where available, can be found on


There are around a million people airborne at any one time, but what goes up must come down. Bringing all those people safely back to earth depends on complex global networks and astonishing technology that stretches our ingenuity to the extreme.

Episodes in this series

Episode Description
Departure The first episode of City in the Sky asks 'What does it take to get a million people and their luggage off the ground... Read more
Airborne The second episode of City in the Sky looks at how 100,000 flights stay airborne every day without colliding. Read more
Arrival The final episode of City in the Sky explores the technology required to land an aeroplane. Read more




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