The airline industry employs approximately 492,000 people, according to a 2008 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Many of these jobs are at airports, where people work day and night to prepare aeroplanes for flight. Airport ramp agents have a key role in keeping aircraft on time, and in transporting passenger baggage between destinations.
The job of a ramp agent is to provide ground service for aeroplanes that are at an airport. Ramp agents guide incoming aircraft using hand signals, and secure the aeroplane with wheel chocks. Ramp agents also load and unload passenger baggage, and operate the jet bridge in order for passengers to disembark. This position requires irregular hours, during which agents must perform their duties in hot, cold or inclement weather.
Ramp agents are usually paid hourly. According to career website Job-Applications.com, most ramp agents receive between £5 and £11 per hour. MyMajors.com reports that the median pay for all ramp agents is £8.0 per hour. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track ramp agent salaries directly. However, the Bureau states that all labourers and freight material movers in the airline industry receive approximately £16,497 per year, as of 2008.
There are no official educational requirements for ramp agents. However, many airport employers prefer to hire individuals who hold either a high school diploma or GED. Experience with customer service and baggage handling is also preferred. Because ramp agents must sometimes operate motor vehicles, a valid driver's license is usually required. Ramp agents must also be in physical shape adequate to lift at least 27.2 Kilogram of weight. Some companies require candidates to pass a criminal background check and drug screening prior to employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment and promotion opportunities for airline labourers are projected to increase by 7 per cent between 2008 and 2018. Several factors are expected to boost employment in the airline industry, including the growing population of the United States and an increased interest in international travel. Candidates with high school or college education and experience in customer service will have the best opportunities for promotion in this profession.