Ground Handling Agent

What does a ground handling agent do?


Ground handling agents are employed by airport operators and work directly at the aircraft during its time on ground. They guide the aircrafts into their parking position using airport vehicles, secure the aircraft, coordinate all following maintenance measures or carry them out themselves, open the doors and hatchways, secure, load and unload the cargo and take over any other coordination tasks relating to ground handling service.


Which requirements do ground handling agents need to fulfil?


Ground handling agents need to be physically fit to be able to carry out the work which can be physically demanding. On the other hand, they need to be capable of handling aircrafts, vehicles and cargo with care. Further requirements are: 

  • Background check by the Federal Aviation Authority.
  • Completed vocational training or at least four years of job experience.
  • Driver's license
  • Good English proficiency is an advantage.


How can I become a ground handling agent?

After a year-long training programme in fulltime, prospective ground handling agents sit an exam at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In the theoretical part of the exam, you are tested on aircrafts, legal regulations, communication and cooperation. The practical exam includes the reception, guiding, securing and dispatching of aircrafts. In addition, they test the application of information systems and baggage handling. The practical training part takes up about 2/3rds of the training period. The training programme is not remunerated, any costs for training courses, exams or training materials must be paid by the participant.



What can ground handling agents expect in professional life?


Ground handling agents work predominantly in the open and are exposed to adverse weather conditions all year round. The necessary concentration on the apron can be impeded by loud noise and exhaust fumes. When driving the "Follow-Me-Cars", bad visibility conditions caused by the weather can make the work quite complicated. The work is physically demanding and ground handling agents wear safety vests, work gloves and at times ear protectors too. Shift work and work at weekends and on holidays belong to a normal work routine of ground handling agents. The gross salary varies from employer to employer and comes to about 2,000 Euros/month including shift bonuses.