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UK Civil Aviation Regulations

These are published by the CAA on our UK Regulations pages. EU Regulations and EASA Access Guides published by EASA no longer apply in the UK. Our website and publications are being reviewed to update all references. Any references to EU law and EASA Access guides should be disregarded and where applicable the equivalent UK versions referred to instead.

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 corporate, 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.

One of our members, Wizz Air, have very kindly shared this safety video that illustrates some of the safety critical tasks undertaken by ground crews, during an aircraft turnaround. 

Ground Administration and Supervision

  • 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.
Close Ground Administration and Supervision

Passenger Handling

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.

Close Passenger Handling

Baggage Handling

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.

Close Baggage Handling

Freight and Mail Handling

  • 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.
Close Freight and Mail Handling

Ramp Handling

  • 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.

Close Ramp Handling

Aircraft Services

  • 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.
Close Aircraft Services

Fuel and Oil Handling

  • 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.
Close Fuel and Oil Handling

Aircraft Maintenance

  • 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.
Close Aircraft Maintenance

Flight Operations and Crew Administration

  • 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.
Close Flight Operations and Crew Administration

Surface Transport

  • 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.
Close Surface Transport

Catering Services

  • Liaison with suppliers and administrative management.
  • Storage of food and beverages and of the equipment needed for their preparation.
  • Cleaning of this equipment; and
  • Preparation of equipment as well as of bar and food supplies.
Close Catering Services