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    Airport Ground Handling Services Importance and The Differences in Ground Operation for Private Jets & Commercial Aircraft

    triangle | By Just Aviation Team

    Ground Handling Services is a fixed set of offerings that play a critical role in the aviation industry. Those services consist of all operations finished in an airplane’s flight safety, optimizing operational efficiency and ensuring passenger comfort.

    What is Ground Handling?

    Ground handling refers to the various services provided to an aircraft while it is on the ground at an airport. These services are essential for the preparation and conclusion of a flight and include both customer service and ramp service functions. Customer service functions cover activities such as ticketing, check-in, baggage sorting, and passenger boarding. Ramp services involve more direct interaction with the aircraft, including marshaling, baggage loading, refueling, and providing ground power. Ground handling is a critical component of airport operations, ensuring that aircraft are ready for their next flight and that passengers experience a smooth transition from the terminal to the aircraft and vice versa.

    Why is Ground Handling Important?

    Ground handling is vital for several reasons. It ensures the safety and comfort of passengers by managing baggage, facilitating boarding, and preparing the aircraft cabin. Efficient ground handling services contribute to minimizing the turnaround time—the period an aircraft remains parked at the gate—which is crucial for maintaining flight schedules and reducing costs. Moreover, good ground handling practices can enhance the overall passenger experience, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty. It also plays a significant role in maintaining the aircraft’s condition by providing necessary maintenance and servicing between flights.

    Difference between FBO, Ground Handling And Supervisory Agent

    Within the aviation industry, there are various service providers that provide support to aircraft. These service providers include Fixed Base Operators (FBOs), Ground Handling companies and Supervisory Agents. These organizations work together to ensure that the necessary services and resources are available so that the aircraft can operate efficiently and safely.

    1. Fixed Base Operator (Fixed Base Operator)

    FBO is a private company that provides ground handling services at an airport. It offers specialized services, which include refueling, hangar rental, and preservation offerings, in addition to different services in the aviation enterprise. As an example, a non-public jet owner might also practice going to an FBO for pre-flight coaching, refueling, ramp handling, and other services.

    2. Ground Handling

    Ground Handling is a process that includes all operations performed in an aircraft’s pre-travel, during-travel and post-travel phases. This process consists of many components such as passenger check-in, cargo and baggage handling, ramp handling, catering services, cleaning and maintenance services. Airline operation companies and service providers for aircraft are generally responsible for providing ground handling services. Ground handling providers often manage operations such as pre-travel preparations, cargo and baggage handling.

    3. Supervisory Agent

    The Supervisory Agent is the person responsible for the coordination and management of an aircraft’s ground handling services. This person is appointed by an airline or aircraft owner and usually works with an FBO or ground handling provider. The supervisory agent’s responsibilities include flight planning, flight tracking, air traffic control, ground operation coordination and other airport services management.


    A supervisory agent may be appointed for the travel of a private jet. This agent will be responsible for flight planning, organize FBO services such as hangar rental and refueling, and coordinate with air traffic control. The Ground operation providers will also manage operations such as passenger check-in, cargo and baggage handling, and provide post-travel aircraft maintenance services.

    What are the Disparities in the Ground Handling Procedures Between Private Jets and Commercial Airlines?

    Private jets and airlines differ in their airport ground handling requirements due to differences in their operations. Private jets usually carry smaller groups or single passengers, while airlines operate commercial aircraft that carry many passengers and large volumes of cargo. Therefore, the ground operation needs of private jets differ from airline operating companies.


    During the ground operations of private jets, the personal needs of passengers and crew take priority. Private jet passengers often make requests such as express check-in, private security checks and express baggage handling. Flight planning on private jets can also be more complex due to specific travel routes and other special needs. On the other hand, airline operations require more coordination and management due to higher passenger numbers and cargo volume.

    Service Spectrum in Ground Handling: Private (Business) and Commercial (Airline) Flights

    The table below will further explain the differences in ground handling requirements between private jets and airlines:

    Ground Handling AspectPrivate JetsAirlines
    Passenger and Crew NeedsPrioritySecondary
    Flight PlanningMore complex, flexibleLess complex
    Airport SizeSmaller airportsLarger airports
    Service ExpectationsHigh, personalizedStandardized
    Coordination & ManagementLess complexMore complex


    In the ground handling process of private jets, FBOs provide hangar rentals, refueling and special services. On the other hand, ground handling providers manage a process consisting of many components such as check-in, cargo and baggage handling, catering services, cleaning and maintenance services. Ground service providers for airline operations undertake tasks such as pre-travel preparations, ramp operations, cargo and baggage operations. Coordination of these service providers, flight tracking, air traffic control and other airport services management is also provided by an inspection agent.

    Various Ground Handling Operations

    Efficient ground handling operations are crucial for ensuring the safe and timely arrival and departure of aircraft. Some of the most commonly used ground handling operations include aircraft marshaling, baggage and cargo handling, ramp handling, aircraft refueling, cleaning and maintenance, catering, passenger and crew transportation, and de-icing.

    Hangar Parking

    The size and characteristics of hangars for business jets may vary depending on the type and size of aircraft. Hangars are specially designed for the protection and safe parking of aircraft. For example, a hangar’s ventilation system is designed to help cool aircraft engines. Hangars also contain special equipment and tools for the maintenance of aircraft. Major Services are:


    • Minimum Runway Strip Requirement: Hangar parking services for business jets must meet the aircraft’s minimum runway strip requirement. This requirement differs depending on the wingspan of the aircraft and the air traffic of the landing airport.
    • Aircraft Stand Positioning: It is the process of determining the necessary placement positions within the hangar for safe and efficient parking of aircraft. This process differs based on factors such as aircraft type, size and wingspan.
    • Engine Run-up Area: It is the open area required for engine testing during the maintenance of business jets. Engine testing is done to ensure that all the systems required for safe flight are working properly.


    Maintenance services for business jets include the elimination of all mechanical, electronic and structural problems of the aircraft. Maintenance services are extremely important to ensure planes fly safely. For example, maintenance services include engine maintenance, testing and repair, structural maintenance and checking of electronic systems. Maintenance services are performed according to standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


    • Line Maintenance: It is the regular maintenance service of business jets. This service ensures that the aircraft is ready for use every time. Line maintenance services include oil change, filter change, tire change.
    • Base Maintenance: It is the basic maintenance service of airplanes every 3-4 years. This service includes more thorough inspection and maintenance of the aircraft. Some basic maintenance services include engine maintenance, avionic systems maintenance, paint renewal.
    • Unscheduled Maintenance: Emergency maintenance service for business jets. This service covers maintenance services that need to be intervened in the event of a sudden malfunction in the aircraft.
    • Scheduled Maintenance: It is the maintenance service that needs to be done on aircraft at certain periods. This service is provided on predetermined dates and times. Scheduled maintenance services include calibration services, annual maintenance, regular tests and inspections.

    Deicing and Anti-icing

    Deicing and anti-icing are vital tools for coping with operations in bloodless weather conditions to ensure the safety of the aircraft. Deicing is the way of putting off snow, ice, and frost from the aircraft surfaces, simply as anti-icing is the technique of stopping the formation of ice on the aircraft surfaces at some stage inside the pre-flight practice system.


    • De-icing fluid is sprayed onto the aircraft using an excessive-stress hose, generally containing glycol or propylene glycol, which lowers the freezing component of water and breaks down the ice. The fluid is heated to a specific temperature, relying on the ambient situations and the kind of plane, to ensure it is powerful enough to melt the ice.
    • The de-icing system is finished on all vital surfaces of the aircraft, which includes the wings, tail, and fuselage. After de-icing, the aircraft must be cleared of any final fluid to avoid refreezing and potential damage to the engines and sensors.
    • Anti-icing fluid commonly incorporates a higher concentration of glycol or propylene glycol than de-icing fluid, and it’s far more designed to adhere to the aircraft’s surfaces for an extended duration. The fluid is also heated to a particular temperature to ensure it stays powerful in cold conditions.
    • Anti-icing is applied on all critical surfaces of the aircraft, which consist of the wings, tail, and fuselage. Anti-icing is applied to all vital surfaces of the plane, consisting of the wings, tail, and fuselage. The anti-icing fluid must be reapplied if the aircraft experiences a significant delay before takeoff to ensure continued protection.

    Baggage and Cargo Handling

    Bags and cargo dealing consists of a selection of technical operations, inclusive of the use of specialized systems along with cargo handlers, forklifts, and vendors to load and sell off aircraft. The shipment has to additionally be nicely secured to prevent slipping at some point in flight, which could have an effect on the steadiness of the plane. Operations used in baggage and cargo handling include:


    • Weight and balance calculations: Ensuring that the weight and balance of the aircraft are within safe limits.
    • Loading and unloading procedures: Following strict procedures to prevent damage to aircraft or cargo.
    • Handling hazardous materials: Complying with regulations and safety procedures when handling hazardous materials such as chemicals or batteries.
    • Compliance with security regulations: Following protocols to prevent aircraft intrusions and ensure the safety of baggage and cargo.

    Refueling Services

    Business jet operators need refueling services to keep their planes running. Refueling can take from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the plane and the amount of gas required. Business jet operators often need fast turnarounds that require fast and efficient refueling services. Some of the procedures related to aircraft refueling are:


    • Sequencing: The process of directing the aircraft to the correct park position using signals.
    • Fuel Quality Control: Visual inspection of the fuel for contaminants and water before refueling begins.
    • Bonding and Grounding: To ensure the aircraft and fuel truck are grounded and electrically bonded to prevent static electricity build-up and sparks.
    • Refueling Process: The fuel truck operator connects the fuel hose to the aircraft and the fuel is pumped into the tanks at the specified rate and pressure.
    • Fuel Quantity Control: The delivered fuel quantity is checked against the quantity requested to ensure accuracy.
    • Fuel Tank Ventilation: The venting system is checked for blockages or leaks to ensure fuel tanks are properly ventilated during refueling.
    • Fuel Tank Cap Sealing: After refueling, the fuel tank caps are tightly sealed to prevent fuel leaks during flight.


    Catering for business jets is designed to meet the special needs of passengers during flight. For example, food and beverages used in private jets must be stored and served in accordance with hygiene conditions. Catering services also include the cleaning of materials and equipment used in the aircraft in accordance with hygienic conditions.

    Crew Transportation

    Crews of business jets also need special transportation services. This service includes transporting the crew to the aircraft, providing accommodation and meals. In addition, all the services that the crew may need before and after the flight are also provided.

    Passenger Transportation

    Passenger transportation services for business jets encompass a range of services, including airport and hotel transfers before and after the flight. These services are designed to make the travels of private jet owners and passengers more comfortable and hassle-free.


    The ground handling industry faces several challenges, including labor shortages, especially of skilled staff with security clearances, which can lead to delays and operational inefficiencies. Ensuring safety and adhering to global standards is another significant challenge, as is managing the increasing volume of air traffic. Ground handlers must also deal with the complexities of baggage handling, minimizing the risk of mishandled or lost luggage. However, it’s a sector ripe with opportunities, as digitalization and sustainability efforts promise enhanced operations and passenger experiences. The growing air travel demand necessitates skilled workforce development and innovative baggage solutions, ensuring reliability and building passenger trust. Ground handling’s commitment to global standards underscores its pursuit of excellence.


    Just Aviation recognizes the importance of efficient ground handling services for a seamless travel experience. With our commitment to excellence and attention to detail, we strive to provide the highest quality of ground handling services to our clients. Trust Just Aviation to provide comprehensive ground handling solutions tailored to your aviation needs.


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