A wide variety of skills and duties are necessary to secure airport management jobs. In the aviation business there are many challenges today, due to the existence of greater security risks than a decade ago, and the sheer volumes of passenger traffic involved.
What does an airport management role consist of?
So what does the job involve? The airport manager must meet all of these challenges. He or she will need to be a great multi-tasker as they will oversee a large number of different parts of the operation. He or she supervises all maintenance of terminals, runways and other buildings, making sure they are up to standard.
The enforcement of Civil Aviation Authority rules is the most important duty of an airport manager. Responsibility must also be taken for setting the airport budget, staffing all aspects of the facility and maintaining relations with the airlines.
The manager is also the public face of the airport and must represent it in the media. When issues arise it will be necessary for the airport manager to have some public relations skill.
There are thousands of airports around the world, from the enormous international air traffic hubs, to smaller local airports with minimal air traffic and domestic flights. But regardless of size, a team of highly responsible individuals must be managing the daily business, and ensuring that regulations are enforced and passengers are safe and being adequately served before and after flying.
Airports today are not just transport hubs. They are also major retail centres and places to eat, drink, worship, meet and greet family and even carry out business meetings. The facilities are constantly improving and the design and comfort levels offered to travellers has a major impact on the reputation of that airport, that city, even that country.
What skills do I need?
Being the manager of an airport is an extremely demanding and time-consuming job. A successful airport manager will need to be highly experienced, and will have worked their way up the ladder – something that may have taken 10 or 20 years.
It follows that managers are likely to have started out as assistant managers or managed at smaller airports. Often individuals will have begun with a business management degree or been taken on as a graduate trainee. Some airport managers have piloting experience but this is not necessary to manage an airport.
An airport manager’s training follows a steady progression of responsibility, perhaps starting out as managing the maintenance facilities or the public relations department before moving up to the position of assistant manager.
There are also many airport operations manager roles, which could lead onto higher-level positions. A candidate might be the manager of an entire small airport but then become an assistant at a major airport. The broader a manager’s experience is, the more responsibility he or she is likely to be given.