Do you want to pursue a career that is exciting and challenging? Do you want to work with people and for a company that is fast expanding? Do you have a passion in the travel industry? If your answer to all of these questions is “yes,” then being an airport manager is probably for you.
What is an airport manager?
An airport manager is someone who oversees the daily operations of an airport, which include ensuring the safety of the airport, negotiating airport contracts, monitoring airport expenditures, implementing operating procedures, supervising staff, and troubleshooting problem if there’s any. Airport managers have high-level of responsibility, and because of this, they may be on-call at anytime to quickly resolve any issues that may come up unexpectedly.
Today, the demand for airport managers and other airport positions is fast increasing. According to the report published on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website, U.S. airlines served an approximately 756 million passengers in 2014 – and the FAA forecast predicts that the number could reach 1 billion in 2029. With the growing number of people travelling by plane, more and more job opportunities will become available for those who want to work in the industry. But of course, just like in other fields, you will be required to obtain proper education and experience first before you can work as an airport manager. Here are the basics on how to become one.
The first part of the process is to finish your high school education. Once you graduated, you should then apply for college and enroll in a bachelor’s degree in airport management or closely related to the field. In a typical airport management bachelor’s degree program, students learn necessary details about aviation and business and administration, including airport planning, aviation safety, business ethics, air transportation operations, and many more.
Before you can get qualified to work as an airport manager, you will need to gain several years of experience in the field, which may include airport administrative and supervisory experience. There are many ways that you can accomplish this. One thing is to apply for internship at an airport near your area. Visit any airport of your choice and see if there are currently internships available for students or fresh graduates. Remember that you can also apply for an internship role at any large business to accumulate some experience.
Another way for you to improve your qualifications is to apply for an administrative position within an airport, and then progressively advance your level. Once you’ve gained several years of experience, you may then start applying for a much higher position and finally get the position as an airport manager.
If you want to increase your chance of getting the position you’re aiming for, you would need to become a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). Most employers prefer applicants who are certified by AAAE. To qualify for this credential, you would need to have at least 1 year of work experience and a bachelor’s degree related in the field. If you don’t hold a bachelor’s degree, you must have at least 8 years of airport management experience. In addition, you need to complete and pass a written exam and interview.