10 Careers in Aviation and Airports
April 25, 2022
CATEGORY : Career Development

Flying is fun. You see the clouds, enjoy the view of miniature cities below, reach different cities, and landmarks across continents that were only in your dreams when you’re still attending history and geographical lessons. If you’re a frequent flier, you’ll love watching flat screens while eating inflight catering cuisines subject to the specific country and airline.

The increase in tourism, airports, and advances in air travel leads to more jobs in aviation. If you’re a new graduate, a mid-career person or planning to take a college degree, this article listed some of the careers in the aviation.

Air Traffic Controllers

Air traffic controllers guide pilots and their craft to land safely. Here, you work in airport towers where you have a full view of the runway. You’ll use equipment such as radar screens, controls, two way-radios, and telephones. Your daily life in this job includes:

  • Direct inbound and outbound air traffic such as aircraft taxiing, airport workers, baggage and maintenance vehicles.
  • Guide pilots with flight directions and changes during emergency landings due to bad weather and aircraft trouble.
  • Keep telephone and radio contact with other nearby control towers, area control centres and terminal control units to manage aircraft movement.
  • Transfer departing or outbound flights to other traffic control zones.
  • Receive control of arriving or inbound flights.
  • Issue flight clearances.

Customs Officer

If you like to contribute to the welfare of the country and guarding borders against illegal trade and making sure everyone is paying the right taxes at the airport then this job is for you. You’re tasked to collect customs duties (taxes), prevent illegal trade of contraband items and flow of dangerous objects. You could work either at the airport, seaport or land border. Your daily working routine includes:

  • Ask passengers to open baggage and check the insides to ensure no contraband gets through the airport whether it’s inbound or outbound. Prohibited items include illegal drugs, illegal wildlife goods, pornographic materials, explosives, weapons, and chemicals (e.g. mercury) that can damage aluminum. Another part of your routine is to ask passengers to place electronic devices, shoes, food, and liquids on the trays.
  • Check and make sure that outbound and inbound passengers only bring the allowed cash amount. An excess of a certain amount (over $10,000) violates the anti-money laundering law.
  • Operate X-ray machines - Here, you’re trained to watch hundreds of luggage come and go to X-ray machines and ensure no illegal items go unchecked.
  • Ask passengers to comply with security checks - Here, you may frisk the passengers.

Flight Catering Cooks

Cooks, chefs, stewards and commissaries make the delicious inflight meals. The team comprises the following positions:

  • Menu planners - They are chefs that design garnishes and do costing to minimize expenditures and implement food standards. They may perform administrative tasks such as interviewing applicants and overseeing food preparing operations.
  • Commissaries - They are the front-liners who portion ingredients, cook hot food, mix salads and place meals into individual plates, cups and bowls. They may retrieve ingredient supplies from the warehouse.

Flight Catering Dishwashers and Warehouse Staff

Flight catering support involves the dishwashers and warehouse staff who make flight catering possible, orderly and efficient.

  • Dishwasher - Load soiled utensils into dishwashers and dryers and sort them.
  • Warehouse staff - These guys receive ingredient deliveries, sort items and retrieve them for inflight catering staff.

Flight Catering Trolley Worker

A flight catering trolley worker is responsible for getting those inflight meals into the aircraft. Here, you will use a trolley containing trays of passenger food made and prepared by cooks at the airport. You’ll work wearing a hairnet and following sanitary standards (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point). Before loading the trolleys, you have to double-check if the quantity and quality conform with the declared list. Afterwards, you’ll push trolleys inside the catering truck or food loader and unload them inside the plane. Then, you have to detail the handover to the cabin crew about the quantity and quality of the declared menu. You’ll work for companies that are either subcontracted by the airline of a subsidiary by the airline company.

Flight Steward (Flight Attendant)

Flight stewards are among the frontlines of the aviation industry. They face the customers, greet them with pleasantries, attend to their needs and ensure that passengers have a pleasant flight from take-off to landing. Flight attendants perform the following routines and tasks:

  • Great and guide passengers who can be in the boarding gate and inside the plane.
  • Demonstrate how to use the Emergency Oxygen System (EOS).
  • Serve welcome drinks, snacks and dishes depending on the flight duration and menus.
  • Guide passengers towards their assigned seats and ticket class (First, Business and Economy).
  • Guide passengers on how to use the entertainment system and amenities inside the plane.
  • Provide headsets.
  • Retrieve used utensils.

A flight steward can be rewarding as it offers you an opportunity to reach different places, airports and countries depending on your airline’s route. The qualification for this job will need specialized training in an aviation and flight attendant school. Commonly, most airlines may require you to finish a degree in Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management. Airlines are strict in requiring applicants to be presentable - physical appearance or grooming.

While there’s a glamour vibe linked to this job, being a flight steward is stressful as it involves you to deal with different passengers who can be uncooperative, disrespectful or ungracious, cope with sporadic hours and flight cancellations or delays, and help passengers put their bags up quickly. Earning as a flight attendant can let you live a middle-class lifestyle or more depending on the airline company size and position.

Immigration Officer

Immigration officers constitute the country’s frontline of safekeeping the country’s border against illegal immigrants, human trafficking and blacklisted individuals. Like the customs officer, this position is a government one. Likely, you’ll work for your country’s immigration agency. Here, you’ll be facing hundreds to thousands of inbound tourists, businessmen, politicians and celebrities. You might be posted at the airport or seaport. A day in your job includes:

  • Checking passports of inbound and outbound passengers – Here, you’ll stamp departure and arrival stamps on passport pages, check visa stamps, validate visa stamps via a computer database and refer flagged and blacklisted individuals to the immigration office.
  • Query inbound and outbound passengers - You may ask a person these questions: For inbound foreigners, “What is the purpose of your stay? Are you travelling alone?” For outbound citizens: Who is your sponsor in that country? Do you have a return ticket?
  • Operate profiling devices - Some airports in affluent countries use advanced iris and facial scanners to profile inbound and outbound passengers. A blacklisted person (due to visa violations and offences related to the host country’s laws) can be flagged when he or she is scanned by such devices.
  • Operate passport scanners - Passport scanners complement the immigration officers’ job, so basically, these machines do the job.


Perhaps pilots (along with stewards) are the most visible jobs in aviation. They are professionals who trained hundreds to thousands of hours flying different models of Airbus and Boeing planes.  Pilots also train on a flight simulator before flying the real aircraft. This career is highly paid but it comes with a great price - most pilots came from affluent families as the required flight training hours can be expensive. You’ll work for passenger and cargo airlines. The daily routines include:

  • Check the aeroplane cockpit/dashboard.
  • Request take-off and landing clearance from the air traffic controller.
  • Fly the plane to the destination.
  • Keep in touch with other aircraft and air traffic controllers.
  • Monitor electronic instrumentation panels such as radar.

Airport Baggage Handler

Airport baggage handler comprises the airport employees tasked to sort baggage according to flight number and airline. You’ll work in a large facility where machines and very long (about several kilometer-long conveyor belts sort and transport hundreds of pieces of luggage. You may use trolleys and vehicles to load and take out items.

Baggage Acceptance Crew

This position entails accepting passengers’ baggage and weighing them on a weight scale. You’re a part of the airline company’s ground crew and posted at desks with mini-conveyors. Your job is safe to keep, sort and tag baggage. Also, you’ll ensure that each baggage complies with the baggage weight allowance and limit.

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