Air transport operatives


Average Annual Pay

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Average Weekly Hours

Annual Survey of Hours and Earning 2018


Unemployment Rate

Labour Force Survey 2018

Future employment projections (Working Futures UK)


Air transport operatives refuel, load and unload aircraft, direct the movement of aircraft at airports, and positions gangways or staircases to allow passengers to board and disembark aircraft.


There are no formal academic entry requirements, though employers may require entrants to possess GCSEs/S grades for some posts. Training is provided off- and on-the-job. NVQs/SVQs in Providing Airside Ramp Operations are available at Level 2.

Typical tasks

  • refuels aircraft from mobile tankers;
  • directs the ground movement of aircraft at airports;
  • loads and unloads conveyor belts to transport luggage between terminal buildings and aircraft, monitors conveyor belts and clears any blockages;
  • loads aircraft with luggage, in-flight meals, refreshments and other items;
  • operates retractable gangway or positions mobile staircases to enable passengers and crew to board and disembark aircraft.

Common job titles

Agent, service, ramp
Loader-driver (airport)
Refueller, aircraft
Despatcher, aircraft
Marshaller, aircraft
Officer, operations, flight
Handler, aircraft
Coordinator, despatch, aircraft
Dispatcher, aircraft
Dispatcher, traffic
Manager, dispatch (airport activities)
Refueller (airport)
Man, tarmac (airport)
Agent, ramp
Master, load (airlines)
Hand, aircraft (airport)
Handler, cargo (airport)
Superintendent, airport
Officer, landing, helicopter
Supervisor, ramp
Driver, tug
Attendant, aerodrome
Leader, team, baggage, airline
Dispatcher, flight
Officer, service, ramp
Handler, baggage
Operator, airfield
Controller, apron
Driver-loader (airport)
Controller, airfield
Despatcher, traffic
Hand, general (airport)
Driver, loader (airport)
Hand, airport
Loadmaster (airlines)
Supervisor, loading
Despatcher, flight
Staff, ground (airport)
Worker, ramp
Loader, aircraft
Hand, apron