An airport is a fast-paced and diverse environment in which to work. It is also an environment which is highly regulated in terms of security checks. With regards to employment, an airport is separated into two categories: Land-side and Air-side. Land-side employees work in the less-restricted zones pre-check-in while Air-side employees must undergo more rigorous security testing to work in areas closer to the planes.
Land-side employment guidelines
All Land-side airport staff must undergo some minor security screening to work at the airport. Working in any part of the airport inside the terminals before check-in or any of the surrounding airport properties is classed as Land-side. Before commencing work, Land-side employees undergo a basic induction which will include information on health and safety procedures and any airport specific information and regulations.
Some employees will work Land-side in an airport before being referred for an Air-side pass by their employer.
What is an Air-side pass?
An Air-side pass is certification which gives an employee access to an airport’s restricted areas. The pass itself is usually a pass card or electronic key fob which allows the holder to enter certain controlled areas of the airport. Air-side passes are required by a variety of airport workers including air traffic controllers, aircraft and passenger marshals, cabin crew, duty-free staff, aircraft engineers and security officials.
Across the world, airport security has been greatly increased in recent years. For anyone wishing to work ‘Air-side’ in an airport, they must undergo a strict and comprehensive series of security background checks. The checks cannot be instigated by an individual and usually an airport worker will need to be recommended for an Air-side pass by an employer or someone within the industry.
How to obtain an Air-side pass
Obtaining an Air-side pass can take anything from a few weeks to several months. It’s therefore imperative that you obtain the required accreditation before applying for any Air-side jobs. The checking process looks at a person’s address and employment history for the last five years. Any gaps in employment will need to be recorded, explained and confirmed by a third-party.
The person carrying out the checks will look at an individual’s qualifications and employment history and potentially conduct a security interview. Criminal record checks are also undertaken as are credit reference checks. For most people, the Air-side security checks should not be a problem. If you have a consistent employment and residency history, the process is reasonably simple.
Temporary and full Air-side passes
Airside-passes fall into two distinct categories: temporary and full. Temporary passes can be issued by an airport for a range of different times spans including 5-day passes and 30-day passes. A temporary five day pass sometimes includes a statutory break clause. In this instance an employee will not be able to apply for another five-day pass unless the previous pass expired over seven days ago.
A full Air-side pass gives an employee unsupervised access to restricted airport zones. A full Air-side pass is valid for five years and allocation is dependent on passing the security checks mentioned above. Each Air-side pass Is unique and will authorise access to a list of certain role-specific zones. Passes are colour coded to show which areas are accessible for the individual to access. In the unlikely event of the pass not being used for a period of 60 consecutive days, the pass will be deactivated.
At PPR, we have supplied fully accredited staff for both Land-side and Air-side contracts. We have extensive experience working in the airport industry and fully understand the importance of maintaining the highest levels of security. Due to our proximity to Heathrow Airport, we have worked extensively in conjunction with Heathrow officials. We are registered as an Approved HAL Signatory and have played an integral part in the development of Heathrow.
If you’re interested in pursuing an airport career and you’re keen to gain the necessary certification then PPR can help. If you’re already experienced in the airport sector and you’re looking for your next position, have a look at our current vacancies to see if anything matches your skills and experience. If you have any further questions you can contact PPR directly by calling 01895 80 81 88 or by sending us a message online.