The behavior of a swarm is not only a natural phenomenon, but is also artificially interpreted into everyday human systems. With over 100,000 flights per day globally, commercial air travel is one of the most strictly regulated and organized businesses in the world.
Air traffic controllers and pilots must work in sync to reduce delays and other problems in the air and on the ground. Constant communication is maintained to ensure safe travel. According to the FAA, aircrafts must maintain a minimum lateral distance of 5 nautical miles and a minimum vertical distance of 1000 feet from all other air crafts. In the skies, there are fast flowing, narrow air currents found in the upper atmosphere. Commercial use of these jet streams began in 1960 and have become very important for airlines by reducing flight time and saving on fuel costs. Planes file through these air currents for international or long distance flights. Planes also tend to fly near coastlines and land masses for safety precautions.
Most airlines have a base airport where they operate most of the flights out of. A company can have hundreds of destinations from one airport base. All airports differ in layout, size, amount of runway, and range. Depending on which runways are used for either takeoffs or landings, flight paths for arrivals and departures will alter to conform to the direction of its runway. In the diagrams to the left, flight paths are oriented from south to north. Runway 22 at LaGuardia Airport in Queens, which is pointed south, was the only arrival runway. All planes coming from the south were directed to travel up the Hudson River (over Wave Hill), and to turn around above northern Bronx. In almost an hour, over 15 flights traveled on the same path to their final destination at LaGuardia.