By Laura Cronin 20 Apr 2023 5 min read

What does an aircraft marshaller do?

What does an aircraft marshaller do?

When an aircraft lands at an airport, it is the responsibility of the aircraft marshaller to guide the plane safely to its designated parking spot. Aircraft marshalling is a critical role in the aviation industry that requires a skilled professional with a keen eye for detail, excellent communication skills, and a strong sense of responsibility.

The primary responsibility of an aircraft marshaller is to direct an aircraft to its designated parking spot, ensuring it is safely and securely positioned on the tarmac. Marshalling an aircraft involves using hand signals and sometimes, communication via radio to communicate with the pilot in the cockpit or air traffic control in the control tower. The marshaller must communicate effectively and clearly to guide the pilot to the designated parking area, avoiding obstacles such as other aircraft, airport equipment, or buildings. A marshall may also be required to drive a “follow-me” vehicle to guide the aircraft to where it needs to be.

Additionally, aircraft marshalling involves much more than just guiding an aircraft to its designated parking spot. Marshalls also perform regular checks on aircraft, including conducting pre-flight checks, ensuring the aircraft is properly fueled, checking for FOD (foreign object debris) around the aircraft, and checking for any damage or maintenance issues. The marshaller must also be aware of any environmental conditions that may impact aircraft operations, such as weather conditions or runway closures.


Regular duties of an aircraft marshaller

On a typical day, an aircraft marshaller will have several tasks to perform. In addition to directing arriving and departing aircraft, marshalls are responsible for preparing the aircraft for departure, ensuring that all necessary checks are completed before the aircraft takes off. During busy periods, an aircraft marshaller may also need to coordinate with other airport staff, such as baggage handlers, air traffic control or ground crew, to ensure that all tasks are completed safely and efficiently.


Skills and qualifications needed to become an aircraft marshaller

To become an aircraft marshaller, there are several skills and qualifications required. A high school diploma / GCSE-level qualification or equivalent is typically the minimum educational requirement. However, some employers may require additional qualifications, such as a certification in aircraft marshalling or a degree in aviation management. Marshalls must also have excellent communication skills, including the ability to speak and understand English clearly. They must also be physically fit and able to work outdoors in all weather conditions.

Furthermore, aircraft marshalling requires individuals to have excellent attention to detail, the ability to work under pressure, and strong problem-solving skills. Marshalls must also be able to remain calm and composed in stressful situations, such as during an emergency.


In summary, aircraft marshalling is a critical role in the aviation industry that requires a skilled professional with a strong sense of responsibility in order to keep aircraft moving safely. While the job may appear simple at first glance, it requires a significant amount of training and experience to ensure the safe and efficient movement of aircraft. If you are interested in pursuing a career in aircraft marshalling, it is important to have a solid understanding of the skills and qualifications required and the responsibilities involved in this important role.

Browse all the latest aviation jobs here.