The Top Challenges Facing Airport Ramp Operations

by Admin on April 25, 2021

Ground and Ramp handling service is one of the most important services that an aircraft receives when it is parked at airports ground, during the time their airplanes arrive at the airport ramp until it departs on the next flight. However, many challenges are always associated with ramp handling operations due to multiple factors.

In this blog, iJET overviews the main challenges that face the handlers of this essential service and states its availability to help you overcome these challenges.

Here are some of the key issues and main challenges facing ramp service providers:

Reducing ramp handling accidents

Ramp handling accidents are increasing worldwide, resulting in injuries to ramp and ground handling personnel and damaging aircraft and property. According to The Flight Safety Foundation, nearly 27,000 ramp incidents and accidents occur around the world every year, on an average of 1 accident per 1000 flights. Moreover, human injury rate is estimated of about 9 injuries per 1000 flights.

The main causes of aircraft accidents are categorized into the following:

  • Human factors i.e., personnel errors, like time pressure, stress, lack of communication between ramp handling workers, or lack of training on managing these factors.
  • failure or malfunction of aircraft engines or structures.
  • Poor aircraft maintenance
  • Sometimes, an accident may be caused due to a combination of the above.

To reduce these incidents, decrease operational distraction, ensure the best landing and parking for an aircraft, and promote effective and safe ramp handling operations the following procedures should be implemented:

  • Improving the use of airside vehicles.
  • Full clearance of the aircraft taxiways and aprons to be obstacle- free.
  • Setting universally unified ramp handling procedures.
  • Using the applicable safety management systems and striving for continuous improvement.
  • Cooperation between ramp handling teams to work together efficiently.
  • Following the aircraft ground handling procedures set by international organizations like IATA Ground Operation Manual (IGOM) and IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO).

Hiring the ramp service at airports provided by a professional flight support company like iJET can spare you of considering all the complications of ramp accidents prevention procedures to guarantee an effortless and safe ramp handling process.

The Challenges of Ramp Services Image

Reducing Aircraft Damage

According to IATA, ground support equipment (GSE) and flight operations cause ground damage to 47% of all airplanes. As a result, worldwide efforts are collaborating to reduce aircraft damage rates since IATA has estimated that the aviation industry would save $4 billion a year by enhancing safety and decreasing the damage of aircraft and ground vehicles.

What are the main reasons of such a high rate of aircraft damage?

The main reason is that airport ramp handling is a very complex process. Ramp handlers should perform lots of activities within a limited area, around a highly expensive aircraft, within a short period of time.

So, aircraft safety depends on how well the multiple members of a ramp handling team work together. Also, there is a specific system that is currently almost agreed on worldwide that sets directions for aircraft GSE, aircraft docking markings, and adding sensors and auto-navigating systems to aircraft equipment. This new technology is helping to decrease aircraft damage, but ramp handlers need specific training to use this equipment effectively.

With iJET skilled, trained, and collaborative team you will definitely have no worries about your aircraft ground safety.

Ensuring Stability & Sustainability in a Growing Industry:

According to IATA, international airlines intended in 2018 to raise their capacity by around 5.7% with load factors increasing to a new rate of 81.4%. Such increases raise so many questions for ramp handlers about safety, efficiency, and standardization. The more the airlines industry grows the more ramp handlers must increase their capacity and efficiency.

Time Limitation and Pressure

Airlines are under constant pressure to consistently accomplish on-time performance, whilst minimizing operational costs. It is estimated that for a large airline company adding only five minutes to aircraft ramp time may cost the airline up to $35 million (USD) annually. One of the key factors in achieving on-time performance goals is the effective ground handling operations.

The Challenges of Ramp Services Picture

Adopting Technology and Adapting Systems to Meet Customers’ Demands

Passengers are having increased demands from their travel experiences and requiring to be fully involved in the pre and post flight stages of their journeys. These demands caused an increase in the need of automation systems and the adoption of new technologies to collect accurate information and precisely inform passengers.

Other Ramp Handling Challenges

  • The decreasing profit margins for ramp handlers, as the increased competition in the industry has been taking prices down and further commoditizing vital ground handling services. Currently, most of the top ramp handling providers are working with about 5 percent return on their sales. Recognizing this, professional airlines should reject searching for the good price only, and instead opt to deal with the ramp handlers with the best service packages, like iJET.
  • Apron congestion i.e., overcrowded aprons are associated with several handlers operating in a single airport apron, which leads to an increased demand for ground support equipment (GSE), thus a decreased productivity because most airports provide the same equipment and resources to multiple ramp handlers in order to decrease the costs.
  • The absence of a universally fixed ramp handling framework and the existence of varied regulations across nations lead to a group of challenges including staff performance and unexpected incidents such as aircraft ground damage, accidents, equipment failure, and more.

Ground Handling Industry Growth

Many airlines attempt to overcome ramp handling challenges by outsourcing third-party ramp handlers. So, despite the challenges mentioned above, ramp and ground handling services never witnessed a growth shortage. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that more than 50% of ground handling activities worldwide are handled by more than 1000 ramp handlers. Moreover, in 2016, Visiongain Ltd. estimated the airport ramp handling market at $54 million with growth rates expected to be higher over the next decade. To further illustrate the growth of the ramp handling market, Global Market Insights estimated that the aircraft ramp handling market size will exceed $160 million by 2022.


iJET provides high-quality ramp and ground handling in addition to other flight support services at all airports around the world. Contact us to book our services on short notice.

Subscribe to iJET Latest News & Promotions

    iJET Limited Certified: ISO 9001:2015