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The Ramp That You’d Love to Work In!

The word ‘ramp’ is synonymous with fashion and style, where models walk the ramp with utmost grace, adorned in the best outfits and accessories. However, did you know that the ramp is an extremely important aspect of a typical airport? The difference is that from an aviation point of view, a ramp is the area of an airport where aircraft are parked, loaded, boarded and vice versa. No models walk up and down this ramp!

Fig. Both these ramps are stylish and glamorous in their own sense!

However, these two ramps share some similarities as well: Ramps in airports are no less than ramps at fashion shows as far as style is concerned: the very image of giant glamorous metal birds resting in style is sure to give you goose bumps, especially if you’re an aviation enthusiast! Also, did you know that the ramp or the platform on which the models do their ‘catwalk’ is also called a runway? The similarities between fashion and aviation are definitely uncanny!

Have you ever imagined a job where you could work right next to these giant metal birds, all day long? If yes, you’d be surprised to know the sheer number of both mainstream and offbeat career opportunities that the ramp has to offer! Read on to know more about these career paths.

1) Turnaround Coordinator

Fig. A turnaround coordinator at work

This is a role that expects you to be the jack and the master of all trades: you will have to ensure that all the operational procedures are carried out with safety, punctuality, efficiency and above all, perfect coordination.

Let’s break down this job role into simpler terms. Turnaround is a cycle that consists of processes critical to getting an aircraft ready for its next flight such as boarding, fuelling, cleaning and vice versa. The time that is needed to carry out these procedures is called turnaround time, and airlines across the world are looking at reducing their average turnaround times to keep their aircraft in the skies for as long as possible and thus make as much money as possible. The longer an aircraft sits idle on the ground, the more money is lost, and the potential to make profits goes down the drain. In today’s hypercompetitive aviation industry where profit margins are as thin as a boarding pass, the role played by competent turnaround coordinators has become more important than ever before.

Turnaround coordinators have to possess excellent leadership and problem-solving skills as coordinating between the various ground handling teams and solving day-to-day problems are their bread and butter.

2) Airside Operations Manager

Fig. An Airside Operations Manager at London Gatwick Airport

This role involves a lot of communication with a lot of people – you’ll have to interact with air traffic controllers, pilots, airline managers and most importantly the travelling public. Thus, having excellent communication skills and the ability to converse in multiple languages would give you a definitive edge over your counterparts.

In the world of aviation, safety is of paramount importance. Thus, as an operations manager, you’ll have to ensure that all the processes and operations are carried out with utmost importance being given to safety and security. Compliance with local laws and safety regulations is absolutely essential as far as airside operations are concerned.

There is also a training and knowledge transfer aspect to the role of operations manager – you’ll have to monitor your staff’s skill levels and determine their training needs.

3) Wildlife Control Officer

This is an exceptionally niche and offbeat career role. If you have a combined interest for the environment as well as aviation, this would be a dream role for you! Aviation and the environment go hand-in-hand – finding that fine balance between the two aspects is very challenging but is an absolute need of the hour. Sustainable development is our best bet for a bright future.

Fig. A wildlife control officer

Did you know that small birds can be extremely hazardous and sometimes even fatal for the big metal birds? Yes, the irony is quite evident. How can a little bird weighing less than a kilogram pose a significant threat to giant aircraft weighting thousands of tons? However, statistics state otherwise. According to research published by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2016, there are roughly 13,000 bird strikes on aircraft per year in the US. While fortunately over 65% of these incidents do little damage to the plane, as stated earlier, there can be no compromises when it comes to safety – remember the famous movie Sully? A massive bird strike led to a catastrophic dual engine failure on US Airways Flight 1549, which then miraculously performed a water landing on the Hudson river and no one was hurt. Thus, no chances can be taken!

Fig. US Airways Flight 1549 on the river Hudson (A still from "Sully")

As a wildlife control officer, you’ll have to identify and analyse the behaviour of hazardous birds and animals that might pose safety threats to aircraft. You work doesn’t end there – you’ll have to take steps to reduce and minimize the possibility of bird strikes or runway incursions. You’ll have to ensure that both the environment and the aircraft operations can coexist with harmony.

Thus, there is a plethora of career opportunities in the ramp sector. The best part of working on the ramp is that there is something for everybody – you can choose an appropriate role that you are interested in and play to your strengths. Or, if you love to experiment, you can take the less trodden path and do something less mainstream and more exciting. If you want to learn more about ramp operations and allied concepts, do register for Udaan Aviation Academy’s workshop “Ramp Handling and Safety”. You’ll gain hands-on experience and some great insights from an industry veteran at a very compelling price. So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and register for the course!

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