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Air transport operative

Air transport operatives refuel, load and unload aircraft, direct the movement of aircraft at airports, and positions gangways or staircases to allow passengers to board and disembark aircraft.


  • Operates retractable gangway or positions mobile staircases to enable passengers and crew to board and disembark aircraft.
  • Loads aircraft with luggage, in-flight meals, refreshments and other items.
  • Loads and unloads conveyor belts to transport luggage between terminal buildings and aircraft, monitors conveyor belts and clears any blockages.
  • Directs the ground movement of aircraft at airports.
  • Refuels aircraft from mobile tankers.

Typical Education Level

Level 2 NVQ; GCSE at grades A*-C

Will retirement created job openings

In the UK, 23% in this profession are aged 55 or above.* They will likely retire in the next 10 years, creating a demand for new workers

*This is based on national data


Average annual earnings

The current average wage for air transport operative is £32,526

224 positions

Current Employment

The number of jobs in the career for the current year is 224. Job counts include both employed and self-employed persons, and do not distinguish between full- and part-time jobs.


Job Postings

Over the past year, jobs have been posted for air transport operative roles.

How well does it pay?

Normal pay for this occupation is £32,526 per year. That is about £2,711 per month or £16.68 per hour. New workers generally start on £16,080, while highly experienced workers can earn as much as £111,745

Is it growing or declining?

This career has remained the same over the last 2 years, and is expected to remain the same over the next 4 years. Currently, 224 people are employed in the region.

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