Jobs working in airports

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So, you want a job working at an airport?

The aviation industry in the UK is a large and growing one, with around 200,000 people employed in airports. They deal with about 200 million passengers who make around 2 million flights each year.

What type of jobs are there in airports?

Airports are made up of a wide range of employers including airlines, aviation authorities, handling agents, fuel suppliers, retail organisations, catering and cleaning companies, and the Civil Service (passport control and immigration).

There are jobs available at every level within these organisations. You can join after leaving school, college or university, or after gaining experience in other jobs.

As well as the obvious careers like passenger check-in officer and pilot, there are many more including retail assistant, airport engineer, flight safety manager, ramp agent, chef, bus driver and customer services manager.

What are the working conditions like?

Most airports never close, so shift work is the most common way of working, which includes working evenings, nights, at weekends and on public holidays. Airports are generally busy and many jobs require dealing with passengers and problems, which may be demanding at times.

What qualities and skills will I need to work in airports?

As most airport jobs involve dealing with people, you are likely to need good communication skills. Knowledge of a foreign language may be useful too.

In addition, a responsible attitude and the ability to work as part of a team are important requirements for all jobs.

What are the entry requirements for airport jobs?

Some jobs require no or few qualifications, whereas others require qualifications up to degree level. Qualifications in subjects such as travel and tourism, retail or customer service may be useful for some jobs. There are also some courses that directly relate to working in an airport. For example, courses in fares and ticketing or airline and airport operations are often run at colleges that are close to airports.

As well as qualifications, there may be other entry requirements, depending on the actual job. For air cabin crew work, you will need to meet height and weight restrictions and have a valid passport allowing unrestricted world travel.

Aptitude tests will be given for some jobs such as pilot and air traffic controller.

How do I find a job in an airport?

There are job opportunities in large and small airports across the UK, but most vacancies are available at the bigger airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham.

Many employees are taken on as temporary staff for the peak holiday times, so it is often easier to find employment at the beginning of the summer. It is then possible to transfer to full-time work later on, when vacancies arise.

Some of the large airports have their own Jobcentres, but other Jobcentres also advertise vacancies in airports. In addition, you can look in local newspapers for airport jobs.

You can also directly approach employers to find out if they have any job opportunities, and the British Airport Authority BAA) advertises jobs for some types of airport staff.

How do I train to get jobs in airports?

Training for many of the airport jobs is given to you while you are working, as well as on the employers' own training courses. It is also possible to work towards qualifications like National Vocational Qualifications/Scottish Vocational Qualifications (NVQs/SVQs), with the possibility of taking your qualifications further.

Arriving and checking in airport jobs

Many jobs at an airport involve looking after passengers and their luggage. Staff help them to check in, provide flight and general information and ensure that nothing illegal or dangerous boards the aircraft. Behind the scenes, there are baggage handlers and managers who make sure that everything runs smoothly.

Jobs in an airport careers

Modified: 16 June 2013

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