What Do Airport Managers Do?

Research what it takes to become an airport manager. Learn about job duties, education and preferred qualifications to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Airport Managers Do?

Airport managers oversee the daily activities at airports, assuring regulations are followed, safety is maintained and jobs are completed on time. They are the primary point of contact for other airport administrators, airline officials as well as the public. These managers also act as the director of airport security. The airport manager works to ensure that all passengers, pilots, regulatory agencies and staff are safe by supervising terminal activities.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Aviation management, business management
Key Responsibilities Monitoring construction projects, managing employees, evaluating airport needs
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2%-4%* (all transportation managers)
Median Annual Salary (2015) $59,080**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Airport Managers Defined

Airport managers ensure that an airport is operating smoothly and regulations are being followed. This may include monitoring construction or maintenance projects, budgeting costs, carrying out inspections and managing the schedules of other airport personnel. You need to have a clear understanding of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policies to ensure the airport is operating within federal and state guidelines.

As an airport manager, you may also be responsible for developing goals for airport development, evaluating the needs of the airport, studying areas where improvement may be needed and implementing plans to make changes. You may also attend meetings with airport executives, negotiate deals with vendors leasing areas in the airport and handle administrative tasks. In the event of a crash or other disaster within the airport, you also take on the role of managing crews responding to the emergency.

What Education Is Required?

According to multiple job listings found on government websites in May 2011, employers typically require you to have a bachelor's degree in fields like aviation management, business management or public administration. Several years of experience in aviation management or airport supervisory work is also usually desired. Some employers may not require a degree if you have enough experience to meet the knowledge qualifications for the job.

Aviation management bachelor's degree programs provide you with the training and knowledge needed to fit into an airport manager role. In this program, you often take core classes in general business, including marketing, accounting, human resource management and business law. Programs may also include classes in air cargo handling, aviation marketing, airport planning and design, airport finance and airport management.

What Other Skills Do I Need?

Recent job listening show that employers often look for airport managers who are knowledgeable about FAA regulations, airport operations, aviation safety, employee management and airport business practices. Since this is a management-level position, you may also need knowledge in motivating employees, organizing projects, coordinating activities between different groups of employees and multitasking.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are some similar options related to an airport manager that include purchasing managers and logistics managers. Most people in these professions also have bachelor's degrees. A purchasing manager is responsible for purchasing materials, products or services for a company to keep operations moving smoothly. A logistics manager plans and coordinates purchasing, distribution, customer service or planning services and is in charge of daily operations.

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