What is Ground Handling?
Ground Handling activities form an integral part of the aviation system, directly contributing to flight and aerodrome safety.
Whether performed for regional, short haul, long haul or rotary operations (both passenger and cargo), conducted in-house or by a contracted organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) refers to Ground Handling services as the following:
- Ground Administration and Supervision.
- Passenger Handling.
- Baggage Handling.
- Freight and Mail Handling.
- Ramp Handling.
- Aircraft Services.
- Fuel and Oil Handling.
- Aircraft Maintenance.
- Flight Operations and Crew Administration.
- Surface Transport.
- Catering Services.
- Representation and liaison services with local authorities or any other entity, Disbursements on behalf of the airport user and provision of office space for its representatives.
- Load control, messaging and telecommunications.
- Handling, storage and administration of unit load devices (ULDs); and
- Any other supervision services before, during or after the flight and any other administrative service requested by the airport user.
Passenger handling includes any kind of assistance to arriving, departing, transfer or transit passengers, including checking tickets and travel documents, registering baggage and carrying it to the sorting area.
Baggage handling includes handling baggage in the sorting area, sorting it, preparing it for departure, loading it onto and unloading it from the devices designed to move it from the aircraft to the sorting area and vice versa, as well as transporting baggage from the sorting area to the reclaim area.
- Freight handling includes cargo warehouse activities, physical handling of export, transfer and import freight, handling of related documents, customs procedures and implementation of any security procedure agreed between the parties or required by the circumstances.
- Mail handling includes physical handling of incoming and outgoing mail, handling of related documents and implementation of any security procedure agreed between the parties or required by the circumstances.
- Marshalling the aircraft on the ground at arrival and departure*.
- Assistance to aircraft parking and provision of suitable devices*.
- Communication between the aircraft and the airside supplier of services*.
- The loading and unloading of the aircraft, including the provision and operation of suitable means, as well as the transport of crew and passengers, including passengers with reduced mobility, between the aircraft and the terminal, and baggage transport between the aircraft and the terminal.
- The provision and operation of appropriate units for engine starting.
- The moving of the aircraft at arrival and departure, as well as the provision and operation of suitable devices; and
- The transport, loading onto and unloading from the aircraft of food and beverages.
*Provided these services are not provided by the air traffic service.
- The external and internal cleaning of the aircraft, and toilet and water services.
- The cooling and heating of the cabin, removal of snow and ice, de-icing of the aircraft; and
- The rearrangement of the cabin with suitable cabin equipment and the storage of this equipment.
- The organization and execution of fuelling and defuelling operations, including the storage of fuel and the control of the quality and quantity of fuel deliveries; and
- The replenishing of oil and other fluids.
- Routine services performed before flight.
- Non-routine services requested by the airport user.
- The provision and administration of spare parts and suitable equipment; and
- The request for or reservation of a suitable parking and/or hangar space.
- Preparation of the flight at the departure airport or at any other point.
- In-flight assistance, including re-dispatching if needed.
- Post-flight activities; and
- Crew administration.
- The organization and execution of crew, passenger, baggage, freight and mail transport between different terminals of the same airport, but excluding the same transport between the aircraft and any other point within the perimeter of the same airport; and
- Any special transport requested by the airport user.