Airport Management Jobs to Consider

A wide variety of skills and duties are necessary to secure airport management jobs. The aviation business is vitally important to our nation's economy and security but it faces a lot of challenges. The airport manager is at ground zero in meeting these challenges. This article will look at what goes into being an airport manager and some of the opportunities out there.

Job Description

There are approximately 17,000 airports active in the United States. Most of these are either private or small local airports with minimal air traffic, but of course there are the bustling and very active major airports that most of us first think of regarding airports. No matter the size of the airport, someone is needed to manage the daily business and make sure regulations are enforced. This is the airport manager's duty.

A manager has to wear many hats and be able to multi-task. He doesn't have anything to do with the actual flying of aircraft, but almost every other aspect of the airport is under his guidance. He supervises all maintenance of terminals, runways and other buildings, making sure they are up to code. The enforcement of FAA rules is the most important duty of an airport manager. He also is responsible for setting the airport budget, staffing the facility and maintaining relations with the airlines. The manager is also the public face of the airport and must represent it in the media. Some public relations skill is necessary for an airport manager.

The manager of a major metropolitan airport has an extremely demanding and time-consuming job. These positions only go to highly experienced individuals who have worked their way "up the ladder" for years. Many of them may have started as assistant managers or managed at smaller airports. Some managers have piloting experience but this is not necessary to manage an airport.

Education and Training

A college degree is necessary to obtain a management job. Many managers have an MBA degree. A combination of education in business and aviation is the path that many managers follow, with additional courses in engineering, accounting and public relations. Some of the major airports actually have internship programs that a recent college graduate with an interest in airport management can attend.

An airport manager's training follows a steady progression of responsibility. He may start in a specialized area such as managing the maintenance facilities or the public relations department before moving up to the position of assistant manager. A candidate might be the manager of an entire small airport but then become an assistant at a major airport. The more well-rounded a manager's experience is, the more responsibility he will be given.

Salary and Outlook

The average range of an airport manager's salary is $40,000 to $77,000. The managers of major airports usually make well into 6 figures, but this covers only a few of the 17,000 airports available.

The aviation business is facing a lot of challenges but good management personnel will always be needed. The opportunities for managers of an entire airport are limited, but demand for assistant managers, personnel managers, customer services managers and other management positions at airports remains steady.