In aviation, aircraft ground handling defines the servicing of an aircraft while it is on the ground and (usually) parked at a terminal gate of an airport.
Many airlines subcontract ground handling to airports, handling agents or even to another airline. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), conservative estimates indicate airlines outsource more than 50 per cent of the ground handling that takes place at the world's airports. Ground handling addresses the many service requirements of an airliner between the time it arrives at a terminal gate and the time it departs on its next flight. Speed, efficiency, and accuracy are important in ground handling services in order to minimize the turnaround time (the time during which the aircraft must remain parked at the gate). Faster turnarounds for lower ground times are correlated to better profits.
Airlines with less-frequent service or fewer resources at a particular location sometimes subcontract ground handling or on-call aircraft maintenance to another airline, as it is a short-term cheaper alternative to setting up its own ground handling or maintenance capabilities.
Airlines may participate in an industry-standard Mutual Assistance Ground Service Agreement (MAGSA). The MAGSA is published by the Air Transport Association (the current version is from 1981) and is used by airlines to assess prices for maintenance and support to aircraft at so-called MAGSA Rates, which are updated annually based on changes in the U.S. Producer Price Index.[ citation needed ] Airlines may choose to contract for ground handling services under the terms of a Standard Ground Handling Agreement (SGHA) published in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Airport Handling Manual. Airlines may also contract for ground handling services under non-standard terms.
Most ground services are not directly related to the actual flying of the aircraft, and instead involve other tasks. The major categories of ground handling services are described below.
The primary aim of this service offering is to ensure passenger comfort. While cabin cleaning comprises the bulk of the effort, it also includes tasks such as replenishing onboard consumables (soap, tissues, toilet paper, reading materials) and washable items like pillows and blankets.
Catering includes the unloading of unused food and drink from the aircraft, and the loading of fresh food and drink for passengers and crew. In flight airline meals are delivered at the seats in airline service trolleys. Empty or trash-filled trolley from the previous flight are replaced with fresh ones. Meals are prepared mostly on the ground in order to minimize the amount of preparation (apart from chilling or reheating) required in flight.
While some airlines provide their own catering, others have either owned catering companies in the past and divested themselves of the companies, or have outsourced their catering to third-party companies. Airline catering sources include the following companies:
This includes services on the ramp or apron, such as:
This includes services inside the airport terminal such as:
This service dispatches the aircraft, maintains communication with the rest of the airline operation at the airport and with Air Traffic Control.
Indira Gandhi International Airport is an airport located in the city of Delhi, India that serves as the international aviation hub of the Indian capital of New Delhi as well as the rest of northern India. The airport, spread over an area of 5,106 acres (2,066 ha), is situated in Palam, 15 km (9.3 mi) south-west of the New Delhi Railway Station and 16 km (9.9 mi) from New Delhi city centre. Named after former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi, it is the busiest airport in India in terms of passenger traffic since 2009. It is also the busiest airport in the country in terms of cargo traffic, overtaking Mumbai during late 2015. As of now, it is the 17th busiest airport in the world and 6th busiest airport in Asia by passenger traffic handling nearly 70 million passengers. It is the world's busiest airport for Airbus A320 aircraft. The under construction expansion program will increase the airport's capacity to handle 100 million passengers by 2030.
Macau International Airport is an international airport in the special administrative region of Macau, situated at the eastern end of Taipa island and neighbouring waters which opened for commercial operations on 9 November 1995, during Portuguese administration of the region.
Manchester Airport is an international airport at Ringway, Manchester, England, 7.5 nautical miles south-west of Manchester city centre. In 2019, it was the third busiest airport in the United Kingdom in terms of passenger numbers and the busiest of those not serving London. The airport comprises three passenger terminals and a cargo terminal, and is the only airport in the UK other than Heathrow Airport to operate two runways over 3,280 yd (2,999 m) in length. Manchester Airport covers an area of 560 hectares and has flights to 199 destinations, placing the airport thirteenth globally for total destinations served.
George Best Belfast City Airport is a single-runway airport in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Situated in County Down, it is adjacent to the Port of Belfast and is 3 miles from Belfast City Centre. It shares the site with the Spirit AeroSystems aircraft manufacturing facility. The airport began commercial operations in 1983, and was known as "Belfast City Airport" until it was renamed in 2006 in memory of George Best, the professional footballer from Belfast. The airport has a CAA public use aerodrome licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport, formerly known and still commonly referred to as Manila International Airport, is the airport serving Manila and its surrounding metropolitan area. Located along the border between the cities of Pasay and Parañaque, about 7 kilometers (4.3 mi) south of Manila proper and southwest of Makati. NAIA is the main international gateway for travellers to the Philippines and serves as a hub for Cebgo, Cebu Pacific, PAL Express, and Philippine Airlines, as well as a base for Philippines AirAsia. It is managed by the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), an attached agency of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Allama Iqbal International Airport is the second largest civilian airport by traffic in Pakistan, serving Lahore, capital of Punjab and second-largest city of Pakistan. It also serves a large portion of the travellers from the other regions of Punjab province. Originally known as Lahore International Airport, it was renamed after the poet philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, one of the pioneers that led to the creation of Pakistan. The airport has three terminals: the Allama Iqbal terminal, the Hajj terminal and a cargo terminal. The airport is about 15 km from the centre of the city.
Trivandrum International Airport is an international airport which serves the city of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India. Established in 1932, it is the first airport in the state of Kerala. It is the fifth international airport of India officially declared by then Prime Minister of India, V. P. Singh in 1991.It is Secondary Hub of Air India Express and focus city for Air India, IndiGo and SpiceJet. It is one of the four international airports in Kerala.
Doha International Airport is an airport in Doha, Qatar. It was Qatar's commercial international airport until Hamad International Airport opened on 27 May 2014. While all scheduled commercial traffic ceased, the airport site and existing runway is still used by Qatar Emiri Air Force, Rizon Jet, Gulf Helicopters and Qatar Aeronautical College. The airport is planned to be refurbished and reopened to handle more traffic for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar.
Flamingo International Airport, also called Bonaire International Airport, is an international airport located near Kralendijk on the island of Bonaire in the Caribbean Netherlands. It was once the hub for BonaireExel and CuraçaoExel before they were rebranded as Dutch Antilles Express, and served as a secondary hub for Dutch Antilles Express and Insel Air. The airport is the fourth largest in the Dutch Caribbean, after Queen Beatrix International Airport on Aruba, Princess Juliana International Airport on Sint Maarten and Curaçao International Airport on Curaçao and is now the largest airport in the Caribbean Netherlands, with F. D. Roosevelt Airport in Sint Eustatius being the second largest and Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport in Saba being the smallest.
Faisalabad International Airport is an international airport and standby Pakistan Air Force military base situated on Jhang Road, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) southwest of the city centre of Faisalabad, in the Punjab province of Pakistan. The airport is home to two flying schools who use the airfield for regular training for new cadets and aviation enthusiasts.
Boryspil International Airport is an international airport in Boryspil, 29 km (18 mi) east of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. It is the country's largest airport, serving 65% of its passenger air traffic, including all its intercontinental flights and a majority of international flights. It is one of two passenger airports that serve Kyiv along with the smaller Zhuliany Airport. Boryspil International Airport is a member of Airports Council International.
Kuching International Airport is an international airport serving the entire southwestern region of Sarawak, Malaysia. It is located 11 km (6.8 mi) south of Kuching city centre. The airport also colocated with the RMAF Kuching, home to the No. 7 Squadron RMAF.
Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) is an international airport in Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, Malaysia. It is located approximately 8 km (5.0 mi) southwest of the city centre. In 2017, 8 million passengers passed through the airport, making it the second busiest airport in Malaysia after Kuala Lumpur International Airport. A medium-sized airport with good connections to most major aviation hubs across the Asia-Pacific region, the airport serves the city of Kota Kinabalu as well as the entire west coast of Sabah.
Aviapartner, whose origins date back to 1949 under the name of Herfurth Air Services to become 'Belgavia' in the late 1960s, is a Belgian company that provides aircraft ground handling services at 37 airports in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands. Among the airports served are Amsterdam, Brussels, Milan, Düsseldorf, Rome, Nice, Toulouse and Málaga.
The Emirates Group is a state-owned Dubai-based international aviation holding company headquartered in Garhoud, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, near Dubai International Airport. The Emirates Group comprises dnata, an aviation services company providing ground handling services at 126 airports, and Emirates Airline, the largest airline in the Middle East. Emirates Airlines flies to over 150 destinations across 6 continents, operating a fleet of over 250 wide-bodied aircraft. The airline has 170 aircraft on order worth US$58 billion. The Emirates Group has a turnover of approximately US$28.3 billion and employs over 105,000 employees across all its business units and associated firms, making it one of the biggest employers in the Middle East. The company is wholly owned by the Government of Dubai directly under the Investment Corporation of Dubai and as part of Dubai Inc..
Dubai National Air Travel Agency is an Emirati airport services provider which provides aircraft ground handling, cargo, travel, and flight catering services across five continents.
Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport is the only operational commercial airport in Lebanon, which is located in the Southern Suburbs of Beirut, Lebanon, 9 kilometres (5.6 mi) from the city center. It is the hub for Lebanon's national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA) and was the hub for the Lebanese cargo carrier TMA cargo and Wings of Lebanon before their respective collapses.
Jinnah International Airport, formerly Drigh Road Airport, is Pakistan's busiest international and domestic airport, and handled 7,267,582 passengers in 2017-2018. Located in Karachi, the largest city and commercial capital of Pakistan and capital of the province of Sindh, it is named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
Hong Kong Airport Services Limited was founded in 1995 and began operations in July 1998 with the opening of Chek Lap Kok International Airport. It now employs 3,100 people and owns a fleet of over 3,000 ground-support equipment and vehicles. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, with offices at Cathay City, Cathay Dragon House, Passenger Terminal Building and Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal.
Singapore Changi Airport is Singapore's primary international airport and a major aviation hub in the Asia-Pacific region. Since the rankings for the World's Best Airport by Skytrax began in 1999, the airport was classified as the world's best in 2000, 2006, 2010 as well as for eight consecutive years from 2013 to 2021.
Media related to Aircraft ground handling at Wikimedia Commons