What Are The Common Airport Operations?

Airport operations encompass all of the processes involved in an airport to ensure your experience runs as smoothly as possible. This includes airport customer service, TSA, gateway operators, and more. Given the often busy nature of airports, proper operations are integral to ensure the thousands of people that flock in and out of its walls make it to their destinations safely. Like many fields, airport operations is a very diverse industry with a plethora of opportunities to be explored. There are four main segments of airport operations.

Each plays an important role in the full functionality of an airport. Without an airport operations department, plenty of missed flights, poor security checks, and overall chaos would ensue. Let’s delve more into this exciting and dynamic field.

Types of Airport Operations

Within an airport, there are generally four divisions:

Here’s the breakdown for each.

Airside operations

Those who work airside operations oversee the airfield, ramps, safety, and security of the airport. If you’ve ever looked outside your airplane window before taking off or after landing and witnessed individuals directing vehicles or carrying out duties on the landing, they are working in airside operations. This department works to make sure the entire airside environment runs as efficiently as possible. This includes:

Landside operations

Those who work in landside operations have a customer-serviced role overseeing the terminals, concourses, roadways, and properties surrounding the airport. They also conduct the day-to-day operations inside the terminals and parking decks. Like airside, landside deals with safety and security operations. Terminal operations falls under this category. 

Landside operations is crucial to what the passenger experiences while going through the airport. Working in this field, you’ll understand the needs of the customers and implement tools to make their experience better. If you believe this industry is for you, it’s good to consider the many common positions out there, keeping in mind that these depend on the size and demand of each airport.

Billing and Invoicing

Individuals who work in billing and invoicing handle both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue. Ledger or accounting systems contain information regarding airport finances: flight bills, handling invoices, cash, sales within the airport (points-of-sales), staff payrolls, etc. People in this division typically have a background in business, accounting, or finance.

Information Management

Information management refers to the collection and distribution of daily flight information. People who work in information management store seasonal and arrival/departure information, and keep track of the connection with airlines. This department is integral to the timeliness of flight arrivals and departures and the organization of the flight schedule.

Examples of Airport Operations Jobs

The field of airport operations is full of opportunities. Each position plays a part in the smooth functioning of an airport. These parts come together to make the process run smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. Here are a few positions that one should consider if they are interested in a career in airport operations:

Airport Operations Entry-Level Roles

Some entry airport roles that might not seem related to the bigger picture of airport operations could still be useful for your career goals. For example, passenger service agents check, board and deplane passengers, and is a great gateway job to become familiar with the airport environment and understand the customer experience.

Whatever your role within airport operations, you’ll be involved in some capacity in the safety and efficiency of an airport’s very demanding ecosystem. It’s important to have the necessary training to meet the demands of these professions.

Airport Operations Training

Airline industry leaders like IATA and ACI represent airports and provide standards for airline safety, security, efficiency, and sustainability. They offer training programs for airside operations to understand performing ramp handling services, safety management, the risks of the operations, and airside emergency management.

Airport Operations Education

And while training and certifications are great, having a foundation is what matters for many of the positions outlined above. The industry standard is a four-year degree, preferably in Aviation Management, Business, Public Administration. Want to learn more about airport operations? At Everglades, you can receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation / Aerospace with a Concentration in Airport Operations Management. This concentration gives you a foundation to work with commercial airlines, corporate flight departments, cargo operations or for the airport authority.

If you’re ready to reach the next level in your career, Everglades University also offers a Master’s Degree in Aviation Science with a Concentration in Aviation Operations Management. Take the next step towards a successful and rewarding career in airport operations. Contact us for more information or questions.