Airports are busy places that act as conduits; people and goods go to airports so they can fly on an aircraft to somewhere else.
Most airports do more than just move passengers around for holidays or business travel, they also act as emergency transport hubs for airborne ambulances, and vast quantities of cargo move through airports every day on its way from one place to another. Some airports also act as military transport hubs, training centres for everyone from pilots to paratroopers, and strategic defence assets.
There are a huge range of people working in airports, from air traffic controllers to the people serving coffee in the food court, but they all have a few things in common:
- Safety is a priority – everyone who works in the airport undergoes safety and security training, both to keep themselves safe but also to help passengers if needed.
- People tend to be efficient – airports are complex places that have to adhere to strict schedules, so people who work in them also have to prioritise efficiency.
- They move around a lot – airports are big, active spaces, and most workers will move about throughout the day (or night, if they’re working shifts).
Key Outcome – moving people and goods around safely
The airport exists to help move people and things from one place to another. They do this by helping make sure everyone and everything gets onto and off of the right plane at the right time, and they also keep things safe and secure.
Key Tasks –
- Help passengers find the right plane and board safely
- Help arriving passengers disembark and leave the airport safely
- Load and unload cargo
- Ensure security checks take place in line with government regulations
- Keep the borders secure and screen international passengers and cargo
- Complete quarantine checks
- Maintain aircraft and other equipment
- Manage airspace around the airport
Airports are part of the wider Aviation and Transport Industry
Airports are just one cog in a much larger industry. The aviation industry also includes companies like the ones who manufacture aircraft, train, and employ pilots and other aircrew, and government organisations who monitor aviation safety standards to keep everyone compliant. The wider logistics industry transports cargo to the airport, and also offloads it to complete the journey.
Expect early mornings, late nights, and few desk jobs in an airport
Shift Work | Flexible Work | Few hybrid or work from home opportunities | Jobs in metro and regional locations | Strong future job growth
The majority of people who work in an airport work in operational roles, which means they need to be at work for the same hours that the airport is open. Most airports see their first flights arrive early in the morning, and the last flight leave very late at night, so some staff will need to be at work during these times.
Unless you work as aircrew, it’s unlikely that you would need to travel frequently because your work is all conducted in the one workplace, and, depending on your employer, you could be able to access flexible work arrangements. Working from home might not be as easy, because you need to be physically present to do many of the jobs in the airport, but some of those who work in office-based jobs (i.e. in human resources) have the potential to work from home, if your employer agrees.
You’ll find airports in metro and regional locations, including on tropical islands and in popular holiday destinations, so you should be able to find work in an airport in most places – in fact, in some towns they may be a major employer. The demand for air travel and cargo transport isn’t slowing down, and we expect strong job growth across most roles over the next 5 to 10 years.
The Career Clusters you’ll find in an airport
You’ll find every Cluster represented within an airport workplace, however most people either fit into Makers or Coordinators. This is because airports are essentially machines which process people and goods from one place to another, and they need a lot of Makers to operate the ‘machine’, and Coordinators to make sure the machine keeps running as it is supposed to.