No doubt, if you have flown on a commercial airplane then you have witnessed many of the different tasks performed by personnel at airports and airlines. Before the plane departs perhaps you spend a few minutes watching out the window as baggage handlers load luggage into the cargo hold. If you've ever been the last one out of the plane then you have likely seen the cabin maintenance crew coming on board to clean prior to the next flight.
There are so many different kinds of ground support jobs it's hard to list them all. Some ground support jobs are more customer service oriented, designed to keep business and generate income for the airline. These jobs include airline informational representatives and gate agents. Conversely, other ground support jobs are out of sight and passengers may never even be aware of them. Examples are cargo handlers and service people who clean the aircraft between flights, ensuring that the aircraft is spotless and ready for the next group of passengers.
Not all ground support jobs are hired through the airlines, however, including aircraft fuelers who are usually hired by the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) or fueling company located at the airport. Contractors who have agreements in place with an airlines or airport to provide certain services hire many ground support people. Contractors may be responsible for the catering or food service for airline employees, or they may prepare and package the meals that airlines serve in flight.
Ground support jobs are often great for those who have little formal education or advanced degrees. The pay may be very good, but the work can be physical and require weekend, holiday, and night shifts. Because airlines operate around the clock, they need ground support people to work at all hours throughout the year, regardless of weather or if it's a holiday. Many full-time ground support jobs offer great benefits, especially those that are hired through an airlines or government agency, and they include paid vacation, free or reduced air travel, retirement plans, and health insurance.
On Airline Job Finder we break down many different kinds of airline ground support jobs. Each of the following types of ground support positions is discussed in great detail in our Members section.
Baggage handlersload and unload baggage, packages, food supplies, commercial freight, or other cargo into or out of the aircraft cargo hold. Handlers often operate baggage conveyors, forklifts, and various freight vehicles.Baggage Handlers frequently work in inclement weather. Positions can be seasonal or full-time, permanent.
Airplane fuelers operate the fueling equipment. The aircraft fueling process often entails driving a truck filled with aviation fuel to a waiting aircraft. After the fueler grounds the fuel tank and supply line, he or she usually climbs onto the wings of the aircraft with the fuel hose in order to reach the fuel tank openings and fill the plane with fuel.
Airport Equipment Driver
Airport equipment d rivers are found in many sectors of the aviation industry. They operate various airfield vehicles such as food trucks, power carts, ramp stand, employee buses, conveyors, cleaning equipment, fuel trucks, and other equipment.
Vehicle / Equipment Mechanic
Airline equipment mechanics troubleshoot, repair, upgrade, and maintain a wide range of airline or airport vehicles and equipment. This includes baggage carts and tractors, company vehicles, aircraft towing vehicles and equipment, fuel trucks, and more.
Airline Food Services
Airline food service staff include cooks, food preparation agents, kitchen helpers, dish room workers, other kitchen staff, and administrative staff. Workers are stationed in a flight kitchen at the airport. These employees prepare and cook food for the flights.
Cabin Maintenance / Service Person
Cabin maintenance crew, sometimes called cabin maintenance mechanics, are responsible for keeping the interior and exterior of a plane in like-new condition. This work may be contracted out by the airline to another company or they may handle it themselves.
Also see our page on Aviation Maintenance for other ground support jobs.
For each type of job profiled in our Members section there's a description, pay details, and educational requirements. You won't want to miss our interviews with industry veterans either. Their insights are invaluable.