How to become an Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

Airline baggage and freight handlers work in the loading services area of an airline's operations, transferring items between airport buildings and aircraft.

Personal requirements for an Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

  • Display alertness, attention to detail and common sense
  • Enjoy practical work and working with people
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good visualisation skills, with the ability to understand diagrams and maps
  • Sound literacy skills to understand loading instructions
  • Sound numeracy skills for interpreting weight specifications

Education & Training for an Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

You can work as an airline baggage and freight handler without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become an airline baggage and freight handler through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


Additional information

The minimum age for entry is normally 18 years, and a drivers licence is required for most jobs. You will need to undergo a hearing test and medical examination before commencing work. All persons working in the airline industry must also satisfy security clearance requirements.

Duties & Tasks of an Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

Airline baggage and freight handlers:

  • Transport baggage and cargo around an airport
  • Load and unload passenger baggage and freight (including animals and perishables) on and off planes and helicopters
  • Use a motorised luggage cart, scissor-lift truck or forklift truck to carry baggage on the airport road system
  • Operate and place mobile stairs to enable passengers to board or disembark an aircraft
  • Unload and load any baggage and freight that needs to make a connecting flight
  • Read luggage labels and follow lists to ensure baggage goes to the right place
  • Check for any priority baggage and assign all baggage to the correct carousel.

Tasks

  • Loads items into aircraft as per instructions, including livestock..
  • Directs planes to parking positions..
  • Unloads aircrafts of freight and baggage..
  • Sorts baggage..
  • Helps position loading ramps and staircases..
  • Directs passengers..
  • Fills aircraft fuel tanks..
  • Cleans aircraft..
  • Drives baggage and freight to aircraft on forklifts and transport trolleys..

Working conditions for an Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

Airline baggage and freight handlers have to work shifts, which may include weekends, public holidays and nights. Earmuffs are worn due to noise from the aircraft engines. The work involves bending, lifting and carrying heavy items.


Employment Opportunities for an Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

Airline baggage and freight handlers work for airline companies and are based at airports. There is strong competition for the limited number of entry-level positions. However, temporary positions are often available during busy seasons. With experience, and sometimes further training, you may be able to work as a supervisor, work on runways or arrange transport for crew.


Specializations

Airline Baggage and Freight Handler

Airline baggage and freight handlers work in the loading services area of an airline's operations, transferring items between airport buildings and aircraft.

  • Average age
    Average age
    38 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    13% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,375
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Lower skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    63% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    5,800 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.0%
    NSW: 32.9%
    NT: 2.2%
    QLD: 23.5%
    SA: 5.2%
    TAS: 1.5%
    VIC: 20.3%
    WA: 13.1%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 3.3%
    20-24: 14.3%
    25-34: 24.9%
    35-44: 21.9%
    45-54: 22.3%
    55-59: 7.8%
    60-64: 4.1%
    65 and Over: 1.3%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 9.3%
    Bachelor degree: 7.3%
    Certificate III/IV: 26%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 1.3%
    Year 10 and below: 14.2%
    Year 11: 6.6%
    Year 12: 35.4%
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