It takes thousands of employees, whom most patrons never see, to make airports and airline travel operate efficiently. One of the jobs that go unnoticed by many travellers is the airport ramp agent who handles luggage.
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Airport ramp agents are responsible for directing aircraft into the gate, loading, unloading and sorting all luggage and freight, de-icing the plane, servicing lavatories, filling the plane's portable water supply and directing the aircraft during gate pushback.
Airport ramp agents face gruelling conditions. They are surrounded by moving propellers and jet engines that can be dangerous. In addition, they are exposed to the elements of the weather, which, depending on location, can range from high heat to freezing cold, wind and snow.
Becoming an airport ramp agent requires a significant amount of training and education as well as the ability to complete a lot of physical labour. An airport ramp agent must, among other things, pass FBI background checks and fingerprinting, be at least 18, possess a high-school diploma or GED, be able to lift 27.2 Kilogram, possess strong communication skills and work under tight time constraints, according to SkyWest Airlines.
Airport ramp workers earn, on average, between $12 and $13 an hour. Many people use the job as a stepping stone to advance to other aviation careers, so there tends to be quick turnover among ramp workers.
Airport ramp workers are always under strict time constraints. Loading of luggage, servicing lavatories, supplying the plane with water, pushback and engine starting usually need to be completed within 30 minutes.
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