A lot of people wonder what type of jobs are available in the aviation industry and what role they perform. Listed below are job descriptions so that when you get to the airport you will be able to recognise personel based on their jobs and not just ‘airport staff.’
Airline Administrative Support
Every airline, big and small, needs administrative support staff to keep the office running smoothly. These positions include secretaries, data entry workers, receptionists, communications and Public Relation specialists, and those who work in the human resources department who handle or oversee the hiring, labor relations issues, training, and termination of employees.
They are also known as an Airline Operations Agent, the cargo agent needs great communication skills for receiving and transmitting information from and to pilots, ground crew, and other personnel. The Ops Agent must be able to prioritize a large number of projects and tasks. When flights are overbooked (it happens often!), agents must make decisions to rectify the situation in a way that will not negatively impact the schedule.
Avionics technicians specialize in working on the electronics systems of aircraft. Avionics technician jobs involve troubleshooting, repairing, replacing, and installing avionics equipment. Calibration of the equipment may also be required.
Regional Sales Manager
The airline district sales manager oversees all of a district’s reservations and ticket sales offices, and the sales representatives in that district. Sales representatives promote their airline in an effort to sell cargo space and plane tickets.
Flight dispatchers are responsible for ensuring the safety of an aircraft’s flight. This includes preparing a flight plan, which is a detailed schedule of destinations, layovers, distance, expected fuel consumption, winds aloft, weather, altitude, compass bearing, and alternate destinations in case of problems.
Ground / Airport Station Attendant
This position can also be: airline informational representative, ground attendant, station attendant, special assistant coordinator, or airport informational representative. Regardless of title, the main responsibility is to assist passengers in the terminal with general questions regarding directions, terminal services, or arranging wheelchair access.
Aviation meteorologists provide weather information to airline flight dispatchers and pilots. They must determine current and forecasted weather conditions for all altitudes, including the direction and speed of wind, cloud cover, and precipitation.
Passenger Service Agent
Passenger service agents have same responsibilities as those in station agent jobs, but they are focused on working passengers – not aircraft. Their duties include issuing refunds to passengers, computing fares, preparing and selling tickets, collecting charges for excess baggage, checking baggage, and providing travel information.
An airline ramp planner is responsible for knowing the arrival and departure times for each of the airline’s aircraft at that airport. He or she coordinates a variety of departments or contracted companies that must perform various tasks on the aircraft before it can depart for the next flight.
Reservation Sales Agent
Reservation sales agents provide travel information over the telephone to customers of the airline. Typically, this information includes trip planning, car rentals, seat availability, fare information, schedules, tours, meals, and other information relevant to the customer’s flight plans. Although internet reservations have skyrocketed, airlines still utilize reservation sales agents.
Airline sales representatives help generate business for the airlines. They promote their airline to businesses.
Crew Schedule Coordinator
Airline crew schedule coordinator are responsible for staffing of aircrew and ground support to keep flights on schedule. If weather or mechanical difficulties delay a flight, it is the crew scheduler’s responsibility to make sure schedule adjustments are made so that travelers arrive at their destination on time.
Airline Station Agent
The most important duty of the station agent or district operations manager, is ensuring the overall operations of a given airline at an airport. This encompasses both flight and ground support operations and involves coordinating flight crew, cargo crew, baggage crew, ground crew, and the information that must be communicated among all these teams.
Airline Ticket Agent
Ticket agents work at an airline’s ticket or baggage counter. They greet customers when they arrive at the airport. They check in luggage and make seat assignments. They also handle airline ticket sales, reservation changes, and provide information on aircraft boarding.
Airline Flight Instructor
An airline flight instructor provides recurrent training for the airline’s pilots. Airline flight instructors may be senior pilots who fly for the airline.
Aviation attorneys specialize in aviation-related cases in commercial or general aviation for individuals, government agencies, or companies. Aviation attornies represent airlines and/or the government. Some aviation attorneys work for the FAA, while others may be on staff or on retainer by large corporations who own aircraft or deal with airlines.
Whether it’s an Airbus with a couple hundred passengers headed to Asia or a private plane with a handful of passengers hopping a couple hundred miles, all planes first and foremost need someone to fly them. Commercial pilots might offer tours, spray crops from above or fly air ambulances and help with some nonflight duties. These pilots must have a high school diploma and a pilot’s license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Airline pilots fly passenger and cargo planes and must have bachelor’s degree.
Both kinds of pilots must get thousands of hours of in-flight training to advance to regional or major airlines. Pilots who earn an instrument rating can fly in periods of low visibility. Airline transport pilot (ATP) certification is earned by having a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time and passing written and in-air exams. Airline pilots must be at least 23 years old and must retire at age 65. From 2016 to 2026, the number of pilot jobs is expected to increase by just 4 percent, reflecting the use of new, larger aircraft that can accommodate more passengers.
The primary pilot in command is known as the captain, while the copilot, or second in command, is sometimes known as the first officer. The copilot shares flight duties with the pilot but is often less experienced.
Flight attendants do a lot more than take orders for beverages. They inspect emergency equipment before a flight and demonstrate safety protocols before takeoff. They also ensure passengers have their seat belts securely fastened in case of turbulence and guide them off the plane in case of an emergency. In addition to providing meal service and selling alcoholic drinks, flight attendants provide items such as blankets and earphones.
Flight attendants must have a high school diploma and be certified by the FAA through training by an employer and an exam. Many work in a customer service type of job, such as in a restaurant, for a year or two before becoming a flight attendant. The need for flight attendants is expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, both because newer planes can accommodate more passengers and the retirement of long-time flight attendants.
Federal Air Marshal
While they’re not on every plane, federal air marshals travel incognito but are ready to jump in to thwart a hijacking or other terrorist incident. Marshals work for the federal Transportation Security Administration , In the United States, he/she must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 21 and 36 with no felony convictions. They need a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience. Potential marshals undergo intense testing, including a criminal background check, criminal background history check, panel interview and a medical and psychological assessment. They then undergo 14 weeks of training in such subjects as firearms, self-defense in close quarters and terrorist recognition. Marshals receive a wide range of pay, that reflects their duties and years of experience.
Cabin Service Agent
After several hours in the air, an aircraft can become a mobile germ factory littered with offcast magazines and forgotten sweaters. Cabin service agents are members of the ground crew who vacuum carpeting, clean lavatories, wipe down tray tables and restock supplies. Must have a high school diploma.