What Is Ground Handling Service?

Ground handling in aviation, refers to the range of services and activities performed on the ground to ensure the safe, efficient, and smooth operations of an aircraft before and after a flight. 

Ground handling in aviation involves a multitude of processes, roles, and responsibilities that are vital to the overall functioning of the aviation sector. 

6 Processes Involved in Ground Handling Service(s)

Wondering what are the processes involved in ground handling services in aviation?

You are at the right place.

Here are the 6 processes involved in ground handling services in aviation.

1. Check-in and Boarding 

These services in aviation begin with the check-in process, where passengers present their travel documents, receive boarding passes, and check their luggage. 

They assist with managing passenger queues, verifying documents, and ensuring a smooth boarding process.

2. Baggage Handling

The handlers on ground are responsible for the safe and efficient handling of baggage. 

This includes accepting and tagging checked-in luggage, transferring it to the aircraft, and unloading it upon arrival. 

They ensure compliance with security regulations, handle special baggage (such as fragile or oversized items), and manage baggage reconciliation to minimize the risk of mishandled or lost luggage.

3. Aircraft Ramp Services 

Ground handlers provide various services on the aircraft ramp or apron area

This practice includes marshaling the aircraft to its parking position, connecting ground power and air conditioning units, loading and unloading cargo, fueling the aircraft, and performing safety inspections.

4. Passenger Services 

They assist passengers with a range of services, such as providing information, assisting with special needs or disabilities, coordinating with immigration and customs officials, and managing boarding procedures. 

They may also arrange transportation between the terminal and aircraft for passengers who require it.

5. Catering and Cabin Cleaning 

Ground crew handlers coordinate with catering providers to ensure that meals, beverages, and other supplies are loaded onto the aircraft. 

They also oversee cabin cleaning services, ensuring that the aircraft is cleaned and prepared for the next flight.

6. Aircraft Maintenance and Servicing 

They support aircraft maintenance activities during turnarounds. 

This ground handling service includes coordinating with maintenance personnel, arranging necessary equipment, and facilitating the servicing and inspections required between flights.

Roles and Responsibilities of Ground Handling Management That You Need To Know

The roles and responsibilities of ground handling management depend on the circumstances. Typically, it’s a well-defined and uniform process that worldwide airline ground handling staff do the same way – more or less. 

Unless there’s a specific need for a cargo services or activity that falls under the spectrum of an “out of the ordinary” experience, ground services are the same anywhere in the world: 

Ground Handling Agent

The ground handling agent is a company or organization responsible for providing ground services. They oversee the overall coordination of ground operations, manage staff, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and service-level agreements.

Ramp Agents 

Ramp agents are responsible for the physical handling of aircraft on the apron. They perform tasks such as marshaling, aircraft loading aircraft unloading, baggage handling, and coordinating with other ground personnel.

Passenger Service Agents

Passenger service agents interact directly with passengers, assisting with check-in, and boarding, and providing general assistance and information throughout their journey. They may also handle ticketing, rebooking, and managing passenger disruptions or complaints.

Baggage Handlers

Baggage handlers are responsible for the careful handling and transportation of passengers' luggage. They ensure that baggage is properly loaded onto the aircraft, unloaded upon arrival, and delivered to the designated reclaim areas.

Aircraft Servicing Personnel 

These individuals, including ground mechanics and technicians, perform aircraft servicing and maintenance tasks during turnarounds. They conduct inspections, refuel the aircraft, address minor repairs, and ensure that all required equipment is available and operational.

Importance of Ground Handling From Management and Services Point of View

Based on importance, we’re going to touch base on the safety and efficiency aspects of ground handling management. Here’s what you need to know.


Ground handling plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of aircraft operations. Proper handling and loading of baggage, correct fuelling procedures, and adherence to safety protocols during pushback and aircraft movement are vital to maintaining a safe environment for passengers, crew, and ground personnel.

Efficiency and Turnaround Time

Efficient ground handling operations contribute to the overall efficiency of the aviation sector. Timely and organized processes help reduce turnaround times between flights, allowing airlines to maximize aircraft utilization and meet tight schedules.

What are Cargo Ground Handling Services and Their Responsibilities In The Aviation Industry?

Cargo services for ground handling refer to the processes, activities, and responsibilities involved in handling and managing cargo shipments at airports. 

These services are essential for the safe, efficient, and timely movement of cargo throughout the aviation sector. 

Here are the key responsibilities and functions of cargo ground handling services in the modern-day aviation sector:

  • Acceptance and Documentation: Cargo ground services are responsible for receiving, inspecting, and accepting cargo shipments from shippers or freight forwarders. 

They verify the accuracy of shipping documents, including airway bills, customs declarations, and other relevant paperwork. This ensures compliance with regulatory requirements and facilitates smooth cargo movement.

  • Cargo Handling and Loading: Ground crew are responsible for loading the cargo from the aircraft as well as unloading it. They use specialized equipment such as forklifts, cargo loaders, and conveyor belts to handle various types of cargo, including pallets, containers, and loose parcels. 

Proper weight distribution and securing of cargo are crucial to maintaining aircraft balance and stability.

  • Warehouse Management: Cargo ground crew oversee warehouse operations, including cargo storage, inventory management, and tracking systems. They ensure that cargo is stored in designated areas based on its nature, size, and security requirements. 

Efficient warehouse management enables quick retrieval and distribution of cargo.

  • ULD (Unit Load Device) Management: Ground crew handle ULD, which are containers or pallets used to transport cargo. They inspect, maintain, and manage the availability and serviceability of ULDs, ensuring they are in proper condition for cargo loading and cargo unloading.
  • Documentation and Customs Clearance: The handlers on the ground assist in completing and processing cargo-related documentation, including customs clearance forms, import/export permits, and security declarations. 

They collaborate with customs authorities and other regulatory bodies to ensure compliance with international trade and security regulations.

  • Security Screening: Cargo handlers for the ground conduct security screening procedures to detect and prevent the transportation of prohibited or dangerous goods. 

They use screening technologies, such as X-ray machines and explosive trace detection systems, to ensure cargo meets security requirements.

  • Perishable and Special Handling: Ground handlers manage the handling and storage of perishable goods, hazardous materials, live animals, and other specialized cargo. 

They follow specific procedures and protocols to maintain the integrity and safety of such cargo, including temperature-controlled storage, live animal handling facilities, and compliance with specialized handling requirements.

  • Ground Transportation: Cargo handlers may also coordinate transportation services on the ground to ensure the seamless movement of cargo between the airport, warehouses, and other facilities. They arrange trucking services, cargo transfers, and last-mile delivery to and from the airport.
  • Communication and Coordination: Effective communication and coordination between ground crew, airlines, customs authorities, freight forwarders, and other stakeholders are vital for smooth cargo operations. 

The ground crew liaise with these parties to ensure timely and accurate information exchange, including flight schedules, cargo status updates, and special handling instructions.

If you have any more questions on ground handling services or are considering setting up your own, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d be happy to help.


1. What is ground handling in aviation and the risks associated with it?

So you might be wondering what is ground handling in aviation and the risks associated with it. 

The question of what is ground handling in aviation is one that usually comes up when talking about the aviation sector in general. 

Let’s see what is ground-handling aviation.

Ground handling is an important aspect of the aviation industry as the aviation sector heavily depends on the airline staff. This staff is responsible for servicing the aircraft during ground operations. 

The amount of effort they put in has a direct link to the safety of the airline’s international operations. 

Ground handling in aviation focuses on tasks such as overseeing the movement of arriving and departing flights on the ground, managing the luggage of the passengers, and performing a wide variety of maintenance activities for aircraft conducted between flights.

Here are a few risks associated with it:

  • Weather Conditions

These conditions play an important role when it comes to ground handling operations as these operations take place in open-air settings.

Dealing with harsh weather conditions, especially during winter, can be very challenging. 

This is especially relevant for ground handling teams who may also have additional responsibilities for airport maintenance.

Other tasks related to weather conditions include clearing snow and ice from walkways and work areas which becomes essential during the months of winter. 

Tasks that are to be performed routinely also become more difficult to perform under unfavourable weather conditions. 

  • Consider Ergonomics

Just like all other sectors, the aviation sector has also experienced growing digitization and automation but there are still a lot of tasks in ground handling that still depend on manual processes, either in part or entirely. 

Not only do these tasks require manual work but they also make the personnel work in challenging physical positions for prolonged durations.

This means that these tasks require both physical strength and endurance.

  • Added Challenges Due To The Nature Of The Shifts

All big airports operate around the clock as the flights arrive and depart from the airports at all hours. 

It is therefore important to align the ground handling operations with this continuous cycle. 

The shift disrupts the natural sleep cycles of humans causing a significant challenge for individuals. 

2. What is ground handling management

So what is ground handling management all about?

Here’s all you need to know about ground handling management in aviation.

In aviation, ground handling management covers a broad spectrum of services.

These services are aimed at assisting with aircraft operations, including tasks related to aircraft movement on the ground, flight preparation, and post-flight procedures. 

When it comes to ground handling management, both customer-oriented tasks and those related to ramp operations are taken into consideration.

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