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There is a lot involved in the operation and planning of any flight. Of course, preparing the aircraft to fly and creating the flight plan is very important, but so too are all the tasks needed on the ground.

Many different services are necessary to turn an aircraft around and deal with passengers efficiently and professionally. This article takes a quick look at the different areas to keep in mind when considering ground services and how to supply them.


Aircraft Marshaling and Turnaround

Pilots and aircraft crew are responsible for the operation of the aircraft, but ground handling services are usually managed separately. Many of these are outsourced to airport service providers but still require planning and management.

Depending on the aircraft and the airport, this could include marshaling the aircraft, chocking the aircraft, supplying stairs or transport to the terminal, and handling further aircraft movement. Aircraft also needed to be parked between flights, and there are usually different options for this depending on location and cost. For longer stays, transferring the aircraft to another location could be a cost-effective solution.

There are also plenty of logistics to arrange and manage on the ground before the next flight, including cleaning, waste disposal, catering loading, and possible security checks.

Aircraft Fueling

Fuel is one of the most important and expensive considerations in flight planning. Managing this when dealing with flights into multiple destinations and countries can be challenging. Availability and prices vary, and all this has to be built into the flight plan and your commercial plans.

Aviation Fuel services are a common area to outsource. Flightworx has a network of over 100 fuel suppliers worldwide. We can source JET-A1 and harder to find AVGAS at competitive prices worldwide and handle ground arrangements. This should save operators time and money.

Maintenance and Safety Checks

Aircraft need regular scheduled checks and maintenance. Pilots will carry out checks and vital inspections before each flight, but more thorough checks require specialized attention.

All aircraft undergo regular scheduled maintenance, with different levels of checks needed after specific periods of time. These require scheduling and planning into aircraft operation. Unexpected problems can occur at any time and in any location, however. Having contacts and a network in place to handle checks and possible work timely and cost-effectively is very important in this situation.

Passenger Services

It’s not just the aircraft that needs looking after on the ground. Passengers have paid for the flight and expect seamless and professional ground services. This includes obvious tasks such as boarding, baggage screening, and handling.

It also extends to passenger logistics – especially for private or VIP groups. This may need transport or accommodation arranged in any location. Operators may also need to consider and source specific onboard items or catering.

Customs Clearance

Customs is also a consideration for international flights. The requirements for this vary between countries and depend on the flight purpose. Cargo will often need extensive paperwork preparation and perhaps advance submission. Requirements can change frequently, and liaison with specialists is a good idea.

Outsourcing Ground Handling Services

There are many different things involved in preparing and servicing aircraft on the ground. Outsourcing some of these services can be an efficient way to access the resources needed.

Many companies choose to use a third party for some areas rather than handle all tasks internally and have the required staff onboard. This gives reliable 24/7 access to services – including in locations where you may not usually operate, or for services you do not expect to require.

Flightworx can handle any of these ground handling services. This can be based on operator requirements, with proposals made that look at availability, cost, and value for money. Of course, this can take into account operators’ preferences, existing contracts, or staffing.

Final Thoughts

For flight operations to run smoothly, ground services are just as important as flight-related services. Passengers expect a smooth, delay-free experience. Just as with flight services, flight plans, and flight permits, things can change last minute, and having the right resources in place to deal with this is vital. Outsourcing agreements can be a cost-effective way to handle this. 

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