The air travel industry has been hard hit by the Covid pandemic. With planes grounded and restrictions on international travel, it has been a difficult year for anyone working in the industry. As we head towards a reopening of air travel, it’s time to look to the future and rebuild the dynamic and progressive airport industry.


What is the work of ground staff in an airport?

At the heart of any airport are the airport ground staff team. Airport ground staff includes all airport workers who are involved in land-side employment. This could be working in airport security, organising schedules, customer facing roles, and aircraft management and maintenance. As airport ground staff roles are so diverse, the skills required are equally varied. Three skills, however, which are vital for almost all airport ground staff, and are fully transferable to other industries, are as follows.

1. Planning and organisation

An airport is run to precise and time-sensitive schedules. To ensure that the flow of people, goods, and aircraft is as smooth as possible, an airport environment must be efficiently organised. An airport incorporates many diverse areas which come together to function as a whole. Check-in staff must work closely with runway workers and flight controllers to ensure the safe movement of people and possessions, while management will oversee the entire process, ensuring that all procedures are in place when delays occur. Within the area of planning and organisation, an airport ground worker must be able to work as part of a wider team and be flexible when required, to ensure business success.

2. Soft skills

These are the personal qualities which are vital for any airport ground staff but which can also be transferred to roles in other sectors. Transferable skills required to work as a member of airport ground staff include flexibility, problem solving skills, teamworking, interpersonal skills, communication, and responsibility. The airport environment is a constantly changing eco system. It is essential, as an airport ground worker, that you are quick to adapt to any changes to schedule and are flexible to undertake extra working hours where necessary, including sometimes unsociable working patterns. All the skills mentioned above will hold you in good stead for employment outside aviation.

3. Communication

Although mentioned above as a soft transferrable skill, communication within an airport scenario is perhaps the most important skill to possess. As an airport is reliant on many areas working together to ensure a smooth workflow and efficient transportation of goods and passengers, excellent inter-departmental communication is essential. An airport is also a large physical space. This means that various methods of communication will be used between different airport areas. The ability to communicate clearly and concisely is essential as is a fluent level of the international language of communication: English. As a member of airport ground staff, you will likely communicate through various methods including, internal intercoms, telephone systems, e-mail, face-to face, and various other specialist computer systems. Communicating within an airport environment will also include inputting the correct information regarding passenger and luggage details and completing any documentation which may be required.


As you can see, working as airport ground staff is a diverse and fast-moving career choice. It is also a job that can take you to various locations both nationally and internationally. All airports are different; however, they all share similar ways of working because, of course, they are all inter-connected. As an airport ground staff employee, your role may involve communicating with various other international locations and liaising with your counterparts on a global scale.

How to become a ground staff

There are many different roles when it comes to the airport ground staff team. A popular route into a ground staff career is beginning as an Airport information assistant. Primarily helping passengers in airports, there are various ways to get into this career, including college courses, apprenticeships, work experience and applying directly.

Is there a ground staff qualification?

Taking a college course like a Level 2 Certificate in Aviation Operations will provide the skills and knowledge to become an Airport information assistant. The minimum entry requirement for a level 2 course is 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent.

What is the salary of ground staff in an airport?

Typically working a 36-to-38-hour week, the average base pay for Grounds Crew is around £20,480*. As an Airport information assistant, you can expect a starting salary of £13,000, increasing to £22,000 per year for experienced Airport information assistants.

*correct at time of publication.

Considering a career as airport ground staff?

If you’re considering a career in the airport industry or you’re an experienced airport ground worker looking for your next role, contact PPR today to find out what current vacancies are available. For more information about finding employment with PPR call 01895 808188 or contact us online.

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