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Department Spotlight – Ground Handling Operations


Ameriflight’s ground handling operation has been in service for over 30 years. During that time, it has grown into an extensive department with operations at two Ameriflight bases – BUR in Burbank, CA and GEG in Spokane, WA.

Ameriflight ground handling employees play a vital role in the daily movement of cargo.



What is Ground Handling? 🤔

Simply put, ground handling refers to the wide range of services provided to an aircraft while it is on the ground and parked at the airport terminal or on the ramp.

In Ameriflight’s case, ground handlers handle cargo from both customer jets and Ameriflight aircraft. There are currently over 100 employees working out of BUR and GEG in Ameriflight’s ground handling department. They work A.M. shifts (unloading cargo from customer jets to Ameriflight aircraft) and P.M. shifts (unloading cargo from Ameriflight aircraft onto customer jets).

During Peak Season (Black Friday through Christmas), Ameriflight has a 30% increase in ground handling staff to make up for extra flights and an increase in volume during the holiday season.





History of Ameriflight’s Ground Handling Operation 📅



The Ground Handling Process 📦

Ameriflight ground handlers handle cargo from both customer jets and Ameriflight aircraft. Here are some of the steps in the process of loading and unloading cargo from a UPS jet.



1. During aircraft arrival, the marshaller guides the air crew to their parking location. Everyone waits until the aircraft has stopped, and engines shut down before approaching and setting up a safety perimeter with cones.

2. After the safety perimeter is set, ground handlers bring up the crew stairs to get the crew off. The crew stairs are very heavy and require multiple ground handlers to position them.

3. Cargo loaders unload and load containers from the top deck and lower decks of the aircraft. All equipment required to unload is positioned to the aircraft with the help of a guide person. The guide person serves as a second set of eyes that helps the operator from making any contact with the aircraft.

4. Containers filled with cargo are rolled off the aircraft. The base, or floor of the aircraft, has built in rollers that allow the cargo to be easily pulled to the door and onto the cargo loaders.

5. The CSP, or sort platform, is the nerve of the operation as every container must pass through this area before it is loaded into the aircraft. The sort platform is where the inbound containers are sorted into the correct trailers and where the outbound containers are weighed before going into the aircraft. It has a roller system which allows for easier movement of containers while they are being pulled.

6. After loading is complete, all equipment brought up in the arrival phase is removed and the aircraft is prepared for departure. During the pushback there are two wing walkers, one on each wing, and a tow certified operator that will tow the jet to the taxiway. 





Interested in joining our Ground Handling team?

Apply Here!